The vote in the UN General Assembly 12 December 2023
Most of the world calls for an end to the bombing and fighting in Gaza
Texts from the UN website
UN General Assembly votes by large majority for immediate humanitarian ceasefire
The resolution stated
Expressing grave concern over the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population, and emphasizing that the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law,
1. Demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire;
2. Reiterates its demand that all parties comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians;
3. Demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access;
The UN General Assembly met on Tuesday afternoon in Emergency Special Session on the decades long Israel-Palestine conflict and as the ongoing crisis in Gaza shows no signs of abating.
Member States adopted a resolution, demanding an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and well as “ensuring humanitarian access”.
• It passed with a large majority of 153 in favour and 10 against, with 23 abstentions
• The resolution also reiterated the General Assembly’s demand that all parties comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, “notably with regard to the protection of civilians”
The vote on the main resolution is as follows:
The resolution has passed by a large majority, securing the needed two-thirds of members. Widespread applause rings out around the General Assembly Hall.
Those voting against were the US, Israel, Austria, Czechia, Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay.
Among those abstaining were the UK, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Argentina, Malawi, the Netherlands, Ukraine, South Sudan, and Uruguay.
Speaking before the vote
Munir Akram, Pakistan’s ambassador, explaining his country’s position before the votes, said he was confident the “vast majority” of the UN membership would vote for the resolution.
Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan speaks at the resumed 10th Emergency Special Session meeting on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
He said it was a matter of “deep regret, that some friends of Israel have introduced amendments to once again condemn only one side but exonerate the other.”
He said he was confident that most Members will not agree to place blame only on Hamas, but blame Israel for their role in the bombardment of the “open air prison” that is Gaza.
Following the pause, projectiles of death have rained down on Gaza from Israel’s war machine he said.
“This is a war against the Palestinian people”, he said. “Israel’s goal is to erase not only a people but the entire idea of Palestine. It’s campaign is a carbon copy of the massive campaigns of racial slaughter by other settler colonial regimes in history”, he added.
Egypt’s ambassador Osama Mahmoud Abdelkhalek Mahmoud, said the resolution was “very simple, clear and explicit”, and long overdue.
“It only includes four operational paragraphs …however, the implementation of these paragraphs are yet to happen, even though the tragic humanitarian situation is unbearable for the Palestinians,” he said.
UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Ambassador Osama Mahmoud Abdelkhalek of Egypt addresses the resumed 10th Emergency Special Session meeting on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
He noted the destruction of the health and humanitarian support system in Gaza, and recalled the letter by the UNRWA Commissioner-General highlighting the dire situation in the enclave.
“The adoption and implementation of [this resolution] which is specifically calling for a ceasefire is the only guarantee for saving innocent civilians,” the Ambassador said.
“The Arab group stresses that the efforts by a minority of States standing against international public opinion” were based on the concept that Israel has a right to defend itself, But he added that as the occupying power, Israel does not have that right, under international law, claiming a “despicable” case of “double standards”, related to Palestinians.
War crimes against Palestinians needed to be addressed, he said.
He said genocide was being used as a tool of war in the case of Palestine, and it left unchecked it would damage the credibility of the whole UN.
Opening the UN Assembly Session
Declaring the 10th Emergency Special Session open once more, Assembly President Dennis Francis highlighted the new request to meet once again in light of the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Mr. Francis opened his statement, saying there was now “an onslaught on civilians, the breakdown of humanitarian systems and profound disrespect for international law and international humanitarian law” being shown by combatants.