UNGA vote

The United Nations General Assembly in New York City adopted a resolution on the protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations as Israel bombarded Gaza on October 27, 2023.

(Photo: Evan Schneider/United Nations)

UN General Assembly Passes Resolution Calling for 'Humanitarian Truce' in Gaza

The resolution—which was adopted as Israel ramped up its assault—also demands that all parties fully comply with international law, "particularly in regard to the protection of civilians and civilian objects."

While Israel intensified its war on Hamas that has devastated the Gaza Strip, the United Nations General Assembly on Friday approved a resolution that "calls for an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities."

Israel launched what some scholars are calling a genocidal assault—backed by billions of dollars in U.S. military support—after a Hamas-led attack that killed over 1,400 Israelis and Palestinian militants took around 200 hostages. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israeli forces have killed over 7,300 Palestinians, including more than 3,000 children, and wounded about 19,000 others.

The three-week bombardment has also damaged or destroyed around half of Gaza's homes, displaced a majority of the 2.3 million population, and cut off internet and communication services, heightening fears that Israel may pursue proposals to ethnically cleanse and recolonize the Hamas-controlled strip, where residents have lived under an Israeli blockade for 16 years.

The nonbinding United Nations resolution passed during an emergency session in New York City on Friday. Of the General Assembly's 193 voting members, 120 voted in favor, 45 abstained, and 14 opposed—including Israel and the United States, which last week vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned violence against civilians and called for "humanitarian pauses" to allow aid into Gaza.

The resolution "demands that all parties immediately and fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, particularly in regard to the protection of civilians and civilian objects, as well as the protection of humanitarian personnel, persons hors de combat, and humanitarian facilities and assets, and to enable and facilitate humanitarian access for essential supplies and services to reach all civilians in need in the Gaza Strip."

It also "demands the immediate, continuous, sufficient, and unhindered provision of essential goods and services to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip, including but not limited to water, food, medical supplies, fuel, and electricity," specifically highlighting the need for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and other U.N. humanitarian agencies along with partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross to access the region.

The Jordan-led measure further calls on Israel to rescind an evacuation order for northern Gaza, rejects any attempts at the forced transfer of Palestinian civilians, demands the immediate release of all hostages, and "stresses the particularly grave impact that armed conflict has on women and children, including as refugees and displaced persons, as well as on other civilians who may have specific vulnerabilities, including persons with disabilities and older persons."

More broadly, the resolution "emphasizes the importance of preventing further destabilization and escalation of violence in the region, and in this regard calls upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint," and "reaffirms that a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions and in accordance with international law, and on the basis of the two-state solution."

U.N. Newsreported that "an amendment, proposed by Canada and backed by over 35 member states, including the U.S., seeking an explicit condemnation of Hamas, did not pass, failing to get two-thirds support."

Also in New York City on Friday, hundreds of Jewish Americans and allies were arrested for taking over Grand Central Station to protest a "genocide... carried out in our names" and demand a cease-fire.

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