Monday, February 26, 2024
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UN General Assembly demands immediate humanitarian ceasefire

UNITED NATIONS: The Palestinians got overwhelming support on Tuesday (Dec 12) in a UN General Assembly resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, to move towards an end to the Israel-Hamas war, now in its third month. Members of the UNGA voted 153 in favour of the resolution, 10 against and with 23 abstentions.

After the United States vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council on Friday demanding a humanitarian cease-fire, Arab and Islamic nations called for the emergency session of the 193-member General Assembly to vote on a resolution making the same demand.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding. But the assembly’s messages “are also very important” and reflect world opinion, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Monday.

The General Assembly vote reflects the growing isolation of the United States as it refuses to join demands for a cease-fire. More than the United Nations or any other international organization, the United States is seen as the only entity capable of persuading Israel to accept a cease-fire as its closest ally and biggest supplier of weaponry.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, told UN reporters Tuesday that Arab and Islamic ambassadors had been mobilizing support for the resolution. In an earlier Oct 27 resolution, the UNGA called for a “humanitarian truce” leading to a cessation of hostilities. That resolution was the first UN reaction to the Gaza war, and the vote was 120-14 with 45 abstentions.

“I think it will send a message to Washington and to others,” Mansour said. He added that a demand from the United Nations, whether it’s the Security Council or the General Assembly, should be looked at as binding. “And Israel has to abide by it, and those who are shielding and protecting Israel until now should also look at it this way, and therefore act accordingly.”

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