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UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution Calling for Immediate Humanitarian Truce in Gaza

INTERNATIONAL: During a continued emergency session in the General Assembly this afternoon on the situation in the Middle East, many Member States mourned the thousands of children killed in Gaza, calling for a humanitarian ceasefire and for more humanitarian aid to reach civilians there.

After the Assembly adopted a resolution Friday that called for an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities, but failed to adopt an amendment unequivocally rejecting and condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel on 7 October, the 193-member body resumed its tenth emergency special session on the “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory”. (See Press Release GA/12548.)

Kuwait’s delegate today noted that, on the day delegates voted to challenge the atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation forces, the ground invasion of Gaza began. “Does the world still believe that what has been unfolding is in self-defence?”, he asked, urging an immediate ceasefire, the free flow of humanitarian assistance to civilians and an end to the displacement of Palestinians. At least 3,257 children have been killed, reportedly more in the past three weeks in Gaza than the number killed in conflict zones around the world since 2019.

Echoing that point, Bahrain’s speaker said the adoption last week of the resolution reflected the world’s demand to end the violence. That should be the number-one priority for the protection of civilians, especially women and children, on both sides of the conflict. “Such scenes of death and destruction can create entire generations filled with accumulated anger and thirst for vengeance.”

Gravely concerned over the situation’s unravelling, the speaker for El Salvador condemned all acts of terrorism and urged a halt to indiscriminate attacks on civilians. “We recall with heavy hearts that boys and girls are half the population of Gaza and have lived their entire lives in a zone under constant conflict and siege,” she said. While delegates meet in this Hall, thousands of innocents are dying. To date, more than 9,700 people have died and more than 1.4 million have been displaced. “Many ask themselves: ‘Where is the United Nations?’”, she said, calling for immediate action by the Security Council.

Indeed, the Security Council’s repeated failure to pass a definitive resolution on the conflict erodes the confidence of citizens around the world in the United Nations, said Lesotho’s delegate. The country commends the Assembly for taking a principled and historical step on Friday by prioritizing the Palestinian people’s humanitarian situation with a resolution that recognizes the importance of preserving the lives of innocent civilians, but it does not end the conflict.

Also regretting the lack of progress in the Security Council, the representative of Greece condemned Hamas’ attack and said Israel has the right to self-defence in line with international humanitarian law. He called for the immediate release of all hostages, noting with alarm “the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza” and warning of the danger of violent spillover to the wider region. The gravity of the situation in the region is greatly concerning, he said.

The delegate from the Russian Federation called out the hypocrisy of the United States and its allies, noting they appeal for respect of international humanitarian law and yet all they can muster now is continued pronouncements of Israel’s supposed right to self-defence. “We do not deny Israel the right to fight terrorism. But fight the terrorists. Don’t fight civilians,” he said.

Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people, the representative of Romania said, calling for a clear distinction to be made between the justified and legitimate Palestinian expectations and demands and the terrorist attacks of Hamas, which harm the future for Palestinians. Respect for international law and international law must be reaffirmed, he said, emphasizing that the protection of civilians, especially children, must always be ensured. Voicing concern about the rise of antisemitism and anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic speech in Europe, he said this is the moment to speak out against hatred. He noted that his delegation abstained from voting on the draft resolution.

Nepal, said its representative, is grieving the death on 7 October of 10 Nepali nationals in southern Israel. He called for an immediate de-escalation of violence and for unrestricted and adequate humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza. The United Nations has the responsibility to prevent humanitarian catastrophe and breach of peace. Member States must demonstrate the courage to bring both sides to the negotiating table, he said, adding that his country remains deeply concerned about a missing student, Bipin Joshi, and is desperately awaiting information on his whereabouts.

 (source UN)

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