By EDITH M. LEDERER
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly approved a nonbinding resolution Friday calling for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
It was the first U.N. response to Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and Israel’s ongoing military response and vow to obliterate Hamas.
The 193-member world body adopted the resolution by a vote of 120-14 with 45 abstentions after rejecting a Canadian amendment backed by the United States to unequivocally condemn the Oct. 7 “terrorist attacks” by Hamas and demand the immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly scheduled a vote Friday on a nonbinding resolution calling for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Jordan’s U.N. Ambassador Mahmoud Hmoud, speaking on behalf of the U.N.’s 22-nation Arab group, which drafted the resolution, called for an afternoon vote before all 112 speakers get to the assembly’s rostrum, because of the urgency of taking action.
The Arab group is seeking action by the 193-member world body because of the failure of the more powerful 15-member Security Council to agree on a resolution after four attempts.
Unlike the Security Council, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly so the resolution is certain to be adopted. While council resolutions are legally binding, assembly resolutions are not, but they do serve as a barometer of world opinion.
It would be the first response from the United Nations to Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and Israel’s ongoing military response and vow to obliterate Hamas. While the Hamas attacks killed some 1,400 Israelis, more than 7,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
The assembly’s emergency special session on Israeli actions, which began Wednesday, continued Friday with U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield echoing Israel’s envoy in calling the resolution to be voted on “outrageous” for never mentioning Hamas and saying it is “detrimental” to the vision of a two-state solution.
She said the United States backed a Canadian amendment, which will be voted on first, that would unequivocally reject and condemn the Oct. 7 “terrorist attacks” by Hamas and demand the immediate and unconditional release of hostages taken by Hamas. For adoption, the amendment must be approved by two-thirds of assembly members.
Thomas-Greenfield called it “a perilous moment for Israelis and Palestinians,” stressing that there is no justification for Hamas “terror,” that Palestinians are being used as human shields and that “the lives of innocent Palestinians must be protected.”
Oman, speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, condemned Israel’s “siege” of Gaza, starvation of its population and collective punishment of Palestinians. But it said the Palestinians won’t be deterred from demanding their “legitimate inalienable rights, chief among them the right to self- determination and the right to establish an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
In addition to calling for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities,” the proposed resolution demands that all parties immediately comply with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law requiring protection of civilians and the schools, hospitals and other infrastructure critical for their survival.
The resolution also demands that essential supplies be allowed into the Gaza Strip and humanitarian workers have sustained access. And it calls on Israel to rescind its order for Gazans to evacuate the north and move to the south and “firmly rejects any attempts at the forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population.”
The resolution also stresses the need “to urgently establish a mechanism to ensure the protection of the Palestinian civilian population.”
And it “emphasizes the importance of preventing further destabilization and escalation of violence in the region” and calls on all parties to exercise “maximum restraint” and on all those with influence to press them “to work toward this objective.”
During the emergency session on Thursday, speaker after speaker backed the Arab Group’s original draft resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, except for Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan who told the assembly, “A cease-fire means giving Hamas time to rearm itself, so they can massacre us again.”
But the calls for a cease-fire, the protection of Palestinian civilians facing constant Israeli bombardments in Gaza and the delivery of desperately needed food, water, medicine and fuel were passionate and intense.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, said 70% of those killed in Gaza were children and women. “If you do not stop it for all those who were killed, stop it for all those whose lives we can still save,” he said.