UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. General Assembly appeared set to demand on Tuesday an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the two-month long conflict between Israel and Hamas after the United States vetoed such a move in the Security Council.

Before the U.N. vote, U.S. President Joe Biden told a fundraising event for his 2024 re-election campaign that Israel was losing international support because of “indiscriminate bombing that takes place.”

Israel has bombarded Gaza from the air, imposed a siege and launched a ground offensive in retaliation for an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that Israel says killed 1,200 people and saw 240 people taken hostage. Gaza’s health ministry says 18,205 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 50,000 wounded.

Most of the 2.3 million people in Gaza have been driven from their homes and the United Nations has given dire warnings about the humanitarian situation in the coastal enclave, saying that hundreds of thousands of people are starving.

Hunger rises in Gaza as UN prepares to vote on ceasefire resolution

No country has a veto power in the 193-member General Assembly, which is due to vote on a draft resolution that mirrors the language of one that was blocked by the United States in the 15-member Security Council last week.

General Assembly resolutions are not binding but carry political weight, reflecting a global view on the war.

The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Palestinian on Oct. 7.

“This war will end when we can answer the diplomat-babysitter test,” Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said on Tuesday.

“Would those diplomats voting to save Hamas’ skin at the United Nations feel safe babysitting children in Kfar Azza, Beeri and Nir Oz? For that to happen, Hamas must be destroyed. And that is exactly what we will do,” he said.

UN overwhelmingly calls for ‘humanitarian truce’ in Gaza

The assembly vote takes place a day after 12 Security Council envoys visited the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, the only place where limited humanitarian aid and fuel deliveries have crossed into Gaza. The United States did not send a representative on the trip.

“With each step, the U.S. looks more isolated from the mainstream of U.N. opinion,” said Richard Gowan, U.N. director at the International Crisis Group.

In October the General Assembly called for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities” in a resolution adopted with 121 votes in favor, 14 against - including the U.S. - and 44 abstentions.

Some diplomats and observers predict the vote on Tuesday will garner greater support. A two-thirds majority is needed.

“The dynamics are different to those in October. The length and intensity of Israel’s operations in Gaza have left many U.N. members convinced that a ceasefire is essential,” Gowan said.

In October, Canada put forward an amendment to reject and condemn the Hamas attack in October, but it failed to get the two-thirds majority needed. Diplomats said the United States plans to put forward a similar amendment on Tuesday.

The draft General Assembly resolution to be voted on Tuesday also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and that the warring parties comply with international law, specifically with regard to the protection of civilians.

Comments

Comments are closed.