UN members are preparing to vote on a resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the war between Israel and Hamas so that humanitarian aid can reach civilians in the battered enclave of Gaza. The vote is expected at 3 p.m. ET.
Key Arab states, including Egypt, endorsed the resolution. The United States, siding with Israel, sharply criticized the effort, calling the resolution “deeply flawed.”
Jordan brought the resolution to the General Assembly after successive attempts to call for ceasefires and humanitarian pauses failed in the more powerful Security Council. A general assembly vote is politically significant but not binding.
The draft resolution calls for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities,” as well as “immediate, full, sustained, safe and unhindered humanitarian access.”
The resolution also calls for “the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive” but does not name Hamas as the captor.
Israel’s position: In debate Thursday, Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the resolution “completely devoid of any content related to the situation,” saying calls for a ceasefire were “not an attempt for peace,” but “an attempt to tie Israel’s hands, preventing us from eliminating a huge threat to our citizens.”
Palestinian observer’s position: Ambassador Riyad Mansour, head of the Palestinian Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, highlighted the climbing death toll among Palestinian civilians, asking the assembly, “Is this the war some of you are defending?”
There is no explicit criticism of Hamas in the General Assembly resolution currently under debate. Hamas, which controls Gaza, sparked the latest outbreak in violence after its October 7 terror attacks in Israel that left more than 1,400 dead.
“These are omissions of evil and they give cover to and they empower Hamas’s brutality,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said Friday. “No member state should allow that to happen.”
Canada has offered a last-minute amendment which sharply denounces the militant group.
A majority of at least two-thirds of member countries present in the General Assembly Hall would need to vote yes for the resolution to pass.