India Abstains From UN Vote On Israel Which Didn't Mention Hamas Attack
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 29: India has abstained in the UN General Assembly on a resolution that called for an immediate humanitarian truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict leading to a cessation of hostilities. It also called for unhindered humanitarian access in the Gaza strip.
Israel has launched a massive counter-offensive against Hamas after unprecedented attacks by the militant group on October 7 killed more than 1,400 people.
The 193 members of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), which met in a resumed 10th Emergency Special Session, voted on the draft resolution submitted by Jordan and co-sponsored by more than 40 nations including Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia and South Africa.
The resolution titled "Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations" was adopted with 120 nations voting in its favour, 14 against it and 45 abstaining.
Besides India, countries that abstained included Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Ukraine and the UK.
The Jordanian-drafted resolution did not make any mention of the militant group Hamas, with the US expressing outrage at the "omission of evil".
Before the general assembly voted on the resolution, the 193-member body considered an amendment proposed by Canada and co-sponsored by the US to the text.
The amendment proposed by Canada asked for inserting a paragraph in the resolution that would state that the general assembly "unequivocally rejects and condemns the terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting on 7 October 2023 and the taking of hostages, demands the safety, well-being and humane treatment of the hostages in compliance with international law, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release".
India voted in favour of the amendment along with 87 other nations, while 55 member states voted against it and 23 abstained. The draft amendment could not be adopted, having failed to obtain a two-third majority of members present and voting.
President of the 78th session of the UNGA, Dennis Francis, announced that the draft amendment could not be adopted.
The Jordanian-drafted resolution called for an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.
It also demanded the immediate, continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of essential goods and services to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip, including but not limited to water, food, medical supplies, fuel and electricity.
The draft resolution stressed the imperative, under international humanitarian law, of ensuring that civilians are not deprived of objects indispensable to their survival.
It also called for "immediate, full, sustained, safe and unhindered humanitarian access" for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and other United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners.
The draft resolution also demanded humanitarian access for the International Committee of the Red Cross and all other humanitarian organisations.
This should be done by upholding humanitarian principles and delivering urgent assistance to civilians in the Gaza Strip, encouraging the establishment of humanitarian corridors and other initiatives to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians, according to the resolution.
The US expressed outrage at the resolution not naming Hamas and called it an "omission of evil".
"As you'll notice, two key words are missing in the resolution before us. The first is Hamas. It is outrageous that this resolution fails to name the perpetrators of the October 7th terrorist attacks: Hamas. Hamas. It is outrageous," US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in her remarks before the vote on the resolution, said.
She added that another key word missing in the resolution is "hostage".
"This resolution makes no mention of the innocent people – including citizens of many of you in this room – many of you here today who have citizens who are being held hostage by Hamas and other terrorist groups," Thomas said.
"These are omissions of evil. And they give cover to, and they empower, Hamas' brutality. And no member state – no member state – should allow that to happen. You should not let it stand," she said.
The US envoy said it is for these reasons that Washington has co-sponsored an amendment put forward by Canada to the draft resolution "that corrects these glaring omissions".
The resolution demanded that all parties immediately and fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, particularly in regard to the protection of civilians and civilian objects, as well as the protection of humanitarian personnel and to facilitate humanitarian access for essential supplies and services to reach all civilians in need in the Gaza Strip.
It also called for the rescinding of the order by "Israel, the occupying power, for Palestinian civilians and United Nations staff, as well as humanitarian and medical workers, to evacuate all areas in the Gaza Strip north of the Wadi Gaza and relocate to southern Gaza."
The resolution called for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive, demanding their safety, well-being and humane treatment in compliance with international law.
UN distributes humanitarian aid in Gaza
TEL AVIV, Oct 23: The United Nations World Food Programme distributed canned fish and other food supplies in the besieged Gaza on Monday (October 23) as a third convoy of aid trucks entered the Rafah crossing.
Over 19,000 people have been displaced in Lebanon in the wake of an increase in tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, a United Nations agency said.
"An increase in cross-border incidents" has resulted in the displacement of 19,646 people in Lebanon, "both within the south and elsewhere within the country", the International Organization for Migration said.
Israel-Gaza crisis: US vetoes Security Council resolution
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 18: The United States on Wednesday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver lifesaving aid to millions in Gaza. The failure by the Council to make its first public intervention on the Israel-Gaza crisis followed the rejection of a Russian-backed draft on Monday evening.
While 12 of the Council’s 15 members voted in favour of the Brazilian-led text, one (United States) voted against, and two (Russia, and the United Kingdom) abstained.
A ‘no’ vote from any one of the five permanent members of the Council stops action on any measure put before it. The body’s permanent members are China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Prior to the vote, two amendments proposed by Russia, calling for an immediate, durable and full ceasefire, and to stop attacks against civilians were rejected by the Security Council.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said “the time for diplomatic metaphors is long gone.” Anyone who did not support Russia’s draft resolution on this issue bears responsibility for what happens, he said. The current draft “has no clear call for a ceasefire” and “will not help to stop the bloodshed”.
He said Russia’s amendments proposed a call to end indiscriminate attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Gaza and the condemnation of the imposition of the blockade on the enclave; and adding a new point for a call for a humanitarian ceasefire.
“If these are not included in the current draft, it would not help to address the human situation in Gaza and polarize positions of the international community,” he said.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield explained her country’s veto in the Council chamber saying “this resolution did not mention Israel’s right of self-defence.”
“Israel has the inherent sight of self-defence as reflected in Article 51 of the UN Charter,” she added, noting that the right was reaffirmed by the Council in previous resolutions on terrorist attacks, “this resolution should have done the same.”
She said that though the US could not support the resolution, it will continue to work closely with all Council members on the crisis, “just as we will continue to reiterate the need to protect civilians, including members of the media, humanitarian workers, and UN officials.”
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also noted the US is also engaged in on the ground diplomacy, with the visit of President Joseph Biden, and other senior officials.
“Yes, resolutions are important, and yes, this Council must speak out. But the actions we take, must be informed by the facts on the ground and support direct diplomacy that can save lives,” she said.
UK Ambassador Barbara Woodward said that her country abstained from the resolution as the text needed to be clearer on Israel’s inherent right to self-defence, and because it ignored the fact that extremist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, is using Palestinian civilians as human shields.
“They [Hamas] have embedded themselves in civilian communities and made the Palestinian people their victims too,” she said.
She reiterated the UK’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas, rescue hostages and strengthen its security in the long term, while calling on Israel “to take all feasible precautions” to avoid harming Palestinian civilians.
She added that it will continue working with all partners to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, ensure protection of civilians and “to work towards the peace and stability promised by the two-State solution.”
This was the Council’s second open meeting on the situation in Gaza. Ambassadors have met, mainly behind closed doors, on the crisis, including meetings on 8 and 13 October. It is being followed by a briefing on the crisis from UN principals.
The action on the Brazilian-led draft resolution follows the defeat on Monday evening of a Russian-led text calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza which did not include any mention or condemnation of extremist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip.
That resolution received five votes in favour (China, Gabon, Mozambique, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates) and four against (France, Japan, UK, and the US), with six abstentions (Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, Malta, and Switzerland).
UNGA calls for ‘immediate release’ of hostages
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 16: United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Dennis Francis on Monday called for the release of hostages taken from Israel and providing uninterrupted access of civilians to humanitarian aid in Gaza.
In a post on X, Francis has echoed the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' appeal for the "immediate release" of hostages from Israel.
"I join the @UN Secretary-General @antonioguterres in his appeal for the immediate release of all hostages taken from Israel & for the unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza in line with international law," posted the UNGA President on X.
"Civilians have been suffering the horrific consequences of violence since the attacks by Hamas against Israel on October 7. I join the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his appeal for the immediate release of all hostages taken from Israel and for the unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza in line with international law," the post added.
UN Security Council in talks on possible resolution on Israel-Hamas war
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 15: Russia asked the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to vote on a draft resolution on the Israel-Hamas conflict that calls for a humanitarian ceasefire.
The one-page draft resolution also calls for the release of hostages, humanitarian aid access, and the safe evacuation of civilians in need. It refers to Israel and the Palestinians but does not directly name Hamas.
The Russian draft "strongly condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians," without mentioning Hamas.
UN Security Council members held difficult talks Sunday on a possible resolution over the war between Israel and Hamas, with two drafts on the negotiating table, diplomats said.
On Friday, Russia circulated a draft that calls for "an immediate, durable and fully respected humanitarian ceasefire" in the war triggered by the October 7 Hamas attack from Gaza on southern Israel.
That draft calls for "unimpeded" humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which had already been under a years-long Israeli blockade and is now under a full-blown siege, with basics like electricity and food supplies cut off.
But the United States is insisting that the council condemn the Hamas attacks as an act of terrorism. And a competing draft from Brazil does explicitly do that, diplomats said.
Russia's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said some council members had expressed a "positive" view of Moscow's draft in a closed door meeting Friday.
After seeking suggestions for changes to the text, Russia asked Brazil, the council's current chair, to put it up for a vote on Monday.
But no vote has been scheduled yet, diplomats said.
To be adopted, a resolution needs at least nine votes on the 15-member body, and cannot be vetoed by any of the five permanent members -- the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia.
Diplomats said the talks were tough going, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict regularly divides the council.
In theory, the text sponsored by Brazil, or one from any other council member, could be put up for a vote if the Russian document is not approved.
UN headquarters in Lebanon struck by rocket
Oct 15: The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon said its headquarters was struck by a rocket in the southern town of Naqoura, amid exchanges of fire on the border with Israel.
"Our headquarters in Naqoura was hit with a rocket and we are working to verify from where. Our peacekeepers were not in shelters at the time. Fortunately, no one was hurt," UNIFIL said in a statement.
UN Chief Condemns Hamas Attack; 'Distressed' By Israel's Siege Of Gaza
By Deepak Arora
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 9: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday condemned the Hamas attack against Israel but said he was "deeply distressed" by the country's subsequent imposition of a total siege on the Gaza Strip.
Israel's vow to reduce Hamas sites in Gaza to "rubble" has raised concern in the UN. Antonio Guterres said military operations "must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law".
"While I recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law," said the UN Secretary-General.
UN Security Council To Meet on Sunday On Middle East
By Deepak Arora
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 7: The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday on the violence in the Middle East, according to a statement issued after deadly attacks by Hamas militants on Israel.
The council will convene Sunday at 3:00 pm local time to discuss "the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question," read the statement released Saturday.
Brazil hopes to prevent escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Saturday, after his country called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address the crisis.
Brazil, which assumed the Security Council's rotating presidency this month, condemned the surprise Hamas attack on Israel on Saturday that killed dozens of people and prompted the Israeli military to launch deadly air strikes in the Gaza Strip.
A statement from the South American country's foreign ministry also reaffirmed a commitment to a "two-state solution," with Palestinians and Israelis coexisting within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders.
"Brazil will spare no efforts to prevent an escalation of the conflict, including during its tenure as President of the UN Security Council," Lula wrote on the social media platform X.