UN General Assembly approves resolution for 'humanitarian truce' in Gaza

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Friday, October 27, 2023
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N.J. Burkett has the latest details in the crisis in the Middle East.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The U.N. General Assembly approved a nonbinding resolution Friday calling for a "humanitarian truce" in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.

The resolution also demanded aid access to the besieged Gaza Strip and protection of civilians.

The resolution, presented by the Arab Group and led by Jordan, passed with 120 votes in favor. Fourteen - including Israel and the United States - voted against it with 45 abstentions.

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, is blasting the vote, vowing "Israel will continue to defend itself."

"Today is day that will go down in infamy," he said. "We have all witnessed that the United Nations no longer holds even once ounce of legitimacy or relevance. This organization was founded in the wake of the holocaust, for the purpose of preventing atrocities. Yet the spectacle we just saw proves without a doubt that the U.N. is committed sadly tragically not to preventing, but ensuring, further atrocities."

Meanwhile, the General Assembly broke out into applause when an amendment draft by Canada to include a rejection and condemnation of the "terrorist attacks by Hamas ... and the taking of hostages" failed to pass.

It did not achieve the required two-thirds majority of members who were present and voting, garnering 85 votes in favor, 55 against and 23 abstentions. All Arab countries voted against it.

Unlike the Security Council, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly. Council resolutions are legally binding and assembly resolutions are not -- but they do serve as a barometer of world opinion.

As such, it is the United Nations' first response to Hamas' surprise Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and Israel's ongoing military response and vow to obliterate Hamas.

It also reflects growing calls at the U.N. for an immediate cessation to hostilities

This all comes after representatives of both Palestine and Israel spoke before the body during a rare emergency special session on Thursday to address the Israel-Hamas war and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

At the assembly's resumed emergency special session, speaker after speaker backed the Arab resolution's cease-fire call - except for Erdan, who told the 193-member world body, "A cease-fire means giving Hamas time to rearm itself, so they can massacre us again."

Meanwhile, the Palestinian officials spoke about the devastation in Gaza due to the nonstop bombings.

In the midst of the meeting, rallies and demonstrations continued Thursday throughout the city. Dozens gathered on Wall Street and marched through Washington Square Park to show their support for Palestine.

In Times Square, an empty Shabbat table was set up and placed with 224 seats, symbolizing the hostages being held captive by Hamas in Gaza.

More demonstrations were expected Friday.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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