The U.N. General Assembly approved a nonbinding resolution Friday calling for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza.
It was the first U.N. response to Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, which killed about 1,400 Israelis. The attack has been followed by an Israeli military response, which has caused about 7,000 Palestinian deaths, according to the Hamas-run 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 “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 was rejected, that would have unequivocally rejected and condemned the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of hostages taken by Hamas.
In addition to calling for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities,” the 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.
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