Less than two months after abstaining on a similar resolution, India voted in favour of a new resolution, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by an even larger majority that called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
With 153 votes in favor, nearly 80 percent of the UN Member States voted in favor of the resolution “Protection of civilians and upholding the legal and humanitarian obligations.” It was passed during the 10th Emergency Special Session on the UN on the Special Session on Illegal Israel actions in East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory on December 13, 2023, in New York.
The New Resolution
In the latest resolution, the opposing votes shrunk to 10, which included the US, Austria, Czechia Liberia, and Pacific allies. Similarly, the number of abstaining nations reduced from 43 to 23. The UNGA majority backing the resolution introduced by the Arab Group and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was even higher than those condemning Ukraine’s invasion by the Russian Federation.
The adopted resolution stated that there was a catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza and also expressed concern for the suffering of the Palestinian population. It also underlined that the Palestinian and Israel’s civil resolution must be protected in adherence with international law.
Calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the resolution demanded an unconditional release of all hostages as well as ensuring humanitarian access. Furthermore, at least seven countries absent from the previous vote endorsed the resolution for an immediate ceasefire, Croatia and Fiji which had abstained on October 26, 2023, also voted in favor of the December 13, 2023 resolution. The New President of Argentina, Javier Milei said at the Hanukkah Party in Buenos Aires that the forces of heaven stand with Israel.
While the previous resolution had called for a humanitarian truce, the new text is even stronger and asked for a ceasefire.
Countries that Changed Stance
India was one of the 21 nations that shifted their vote from abstention to approval since the last resolution with approximately half of them being European nations. Notably, the key allies of the US namely Canada, Australia, and Japan supported the latest resolutions contrary to their stance in the month of October 2023. In Asia, the Philippines also transited to a yes vote this time.
India has voted in favor of the resolution adopted by the UNGA. The situation that this august body has been deliberating upon has many dimensions. This terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, the concern for the hostages taken at that time said Ruchira Kamboj, the Indian Representative to the United Nations. The statement noticed that there was an enormous humanitarian crisis and a large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially of women and children.
“There is an issue of observing international humanitarian law in all circumstances and there is the endeavor to find a peaceful and lasting two-state solution to the long-standing Palestine question,” asserted the Indian diplomat. Stating that the challenge was to strike the right balance, the Indian statement said that the gravity and complexity of what the international community faces is underlined by the Secretary-General invoking Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations.
“Therefore, we welcome the fact that the international community has been able to find a common ground to address the multiple challenges facing the region right now,” she concluded.
Terms for Ceasefire
The Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Gilad Erdan held up a sign with the phone number and name of Yehva Sinwar, a senior Hamas leader, whom Israel has accused of being the main mastermind behind the October terror attack. “If you want a real ceasefire, call all Hamas offices in Gaza, and ask for Yahya Sinwar. Tell Hamas to put down their arms, turn themselves in and return our hostages. This will bring a complete ceasefire that will last forever.
Hamas Attack on Israel
The terror attack on Hamas in southern Israel killed more than 1200 people with 240 others taken as hostage. Since then, the offensive by Israelis in Gaza has killed more than 15,000 people as per UN Records. After a pause of seven days in fighting in exchange for the release of hostages and prisoners, Israel resumed strikes on Gaza, issuing evacuation notices even from several places in the south.