UN General Assembly to discuss aid, hostage crisis in Middle East at NYC meeting

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Thursday, October 26, 2023
UN General Assembly holds emergency meeting on Israel-Hamas war
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The UNGA is holding an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in the Middle East.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The United Nations General Assembly is holding an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the dire situation in the Middle East.

The council is the U.N.'s most powerful body, charged with maintaining international peace and security, but its divisions have left it impotent and scrambling to try to find a resolution with acceptable language.

The United States has been urging Israel to delay a ground invasion while hostages still remain in Gaza.

On Wednesday, two resolutions calling for a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid were vetoed by the UN Security Council.

The Unites States' resolution called for a pause in fighting to allow aid access, protection of civilians and to stop arming Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip.

The Russians also called for a ceasefire, but both were vetoed. A "no" from any of the five permanent members stop resolutions from moving forward.

Both resolutions condemned the actions of Hamas and officials from both Palestine and Israel made passionate statements before the Assembly.

The failure of the two resolutions followed the council's rejections last week of a Russian resolution that didn't mention Hamas and also failed to get nine "yes" votes and a widely supported Brazilian resolution vetoed by the United States that would have condemned the Hamas attacks and all violence against civilians and called for "humanitarian pauses."

After the votes, Malta's U.N. Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, speaking on behalf of the 10 elected members of the council serving two-year terms, announced they will be working on a new proposal in the coming days.

"As elected members of this council, we also represent the rest of the international community and we have a duty and an obligation to act," she told the council. "There is no time to waste."

As the Security Council met, protests continued throughout the city. At Columbia, there a call for the end of Jewish hatred.

Jewish students say the university isn't doing enough to protect them from displays of antisemitism and anti-Israeli rhetoric.

"Everybody that wears the kippah is mocked on campus. For example, I've stopped wearing the Star of David because I'm afraid," Columbia student Noah Cajina said.

At CUNY in Midtown, students walked out of class demanding an end to Israel's siege on Gaza. NYU students also spoke out Wednesday.

"We demand NYU stand for Palestinian students, for Palestinian supporters. We demand NYU divest from the arms manufacturers that Israel are using to do this genocide, the siege on Gaza."

More protests and demonstrations are planned for Thursday in Washington Square Park, Times Square, and Wall Street.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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