In a pivotal moment at the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt presented a resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, as well as the release of all hostages. This resolution is aimed at addressing the dire situation in the Gaza Strip and the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population. However, before the vote, two amendments were proposed—one by Austria and another by the United States—to condemn Hamas. Unfortunately, both amendments failed to secure the two-thirds majority vote for approval.
The emergency special session presided over by the President of the U.N. General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis, commenced with a somber acknowledgment of the immense loss of life and displacement caused by the ongoing conflict. Tens of thousands of people have tragically perished since the war between Hamas and Israel began on October 7. Mr. Francis stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire, highlighting the collapse of the humanitarian system and the blockade preventing essential aid delivery.
Egypt’s resolution underscored the importance of protecting both Palestinian and Israeli civilians under international law. The resolution emphasized the need for an immediate ceasefire to address the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza. It stressed further compliance with international obligations, particularly safeguarding civilian lives. Additionally, the resolution called for the unconditional release of all hostages, while Austria sought to include the phrase “held by Hamas and other groups” and the word “immediate” to emphasize the urgency of humanitarian access.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield echoed the dire circumstances in Gaza, urging the assembly to condemn Hamas for its terrorist actions. She implored members to reject the atrocities committed on October 7, highlighting the murder of innocent civilians, the burning of homes, and the taking of hostages. The United States proposed an amendment unequivocally condemning these acts, but it, too, failed to secure the necessary supermajority vote.
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, made a symbolic gesture during the session by displaying a ceasefire plaque bearing the contact information of Hamas leader Yehiya Sinwar. He suggested that by reaching out to Hamas and demanding the surrender of arms, the release of hostages, and a commitment to peace, a lasting ceasefire could be achieved.
Ultimately, Egypt’s resolution was adopted with an overwhelming majority of 153 votes in favor, only ten against, and 23 abstentions. While the amendments did not pass, the resolution serves as a crucial step towards alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and fostering dialogue between the conflicting parties. The international community must now work together to ensure the resolution’s implementation and bring an end to the suffering endured by innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.