(LifeSiteNews) — An overwhelming majority of national government delegations passed a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly on Friday calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” between Israel and Hamas. The statement also “demands the immediate, continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of essential goods and services to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip.”
Titled “Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations,” the resolution was passed by 90 percent of the voting nations, with a final tally of 121 voting in favor, 14 against, and 44 abstentions.
Nations who voted against the resolution included Israel, the United States, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Tonga.
The resolution broke a deadlock from the UN Security Council over a response to the current crisis in the Holy Land which erupted on October 7. Two weeks ago the United States vetoed a similar resolution with the only vote against the measure out of the 12-member body, highlighting the superpower’s isolation.
Friday’s General Assembly statement also condemns “all acts of violence aimed at Palestinian and Israeli civilians, including all acts of terrorism and indiscriminate attacks.” It additionally calls for “the rescinding of the order by Israel, the occupying Power, for Palestinian civilians… to evacuate all areas in the Gaza Strip north of the Wadi Gaza.”
Emphasizing that “civilians must be protected,” the 121 member states deplored the “heavy civilian casualties and widespread destruction” inflicted due to the conflict. They also demand “immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive.”
According to reports, Hamas abducted just over 200 hostages in its criminal attack on October 7, with an objective to exchange them for some of the 5,200 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel. Reuters reports that in 2011, “Israel swapped hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to win the release of one Israeli soldier.”
Long history of Israel disregarding multitudes of UN resolutions ratified by overwhelming majorities of nations
Identifying Israel as the “occupying Power,” the statement also recalls relevant Security Council resolutions of the past which are binding on all member states as a matter of international law. They include Resolution 242 from 1967 which called for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from [Palestinian] territories occupied” during the June 1967 war. These regions include Gaza and the West Bank.
Also mentioned is Res. 446 from 1979, which affirmed that Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian territories “have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Having maintained its military occupation over these five-and-a-half decades, Israel has also continually expanded its illegal settlements on confiscated Palestinian land. These settlements now number 163 with 98 additional “outposts,” which are now home to over 500,000 Jewish settlers.
In addition, Friday’s statement recalled Res. 476 (1980) which “censures [Israel] in the strongest terms [for its] refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions,” among other matters.
In all, the UN Security Council has issued 79 resolutions targeting Israel for serious violations of international law. These resolutions also require the Israeli government to allow refugees from the 1967 war to return to their homes and lands, define the legitimate borders of both parties, and condemn Israel for multiple unlawful attacks, violations of human rights, and more.
Currently, 1.26 million people in Gaza, roughly 70 percent the population suffering from Israel’s current bombardment of the strip, are classified by the United Nations as refugees.
Over the years, annual General Assembly resolutions admonishing Israel have also been numerous and supported by overwhelming majorities of member states. For example, this eight-page 2020 resolution on Israel’s human rights record in the Occupied Palestinian Territory repudiated the Israeli government for their “killing and injury of [Palestinian] civilians,” “arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians,” “the forced displacement of civilians,” “the destruction and confiscation of civilian property,” “home demolitions,” “carried out as collective punishment,” building settlements in Palestinian territory, and more.
The ratifying member nations also approved of 27 words condemning “militants and armed groups” in the occupied territories for “firing rockets, against Israeli civilian areas, resulting in loss of life and injury.”
According to the pro-Israel organization UN Watch, this 2020 resolution was ratified by 147 national governments, with only 10 delegations voting against it and 16 abstentions. Earlier versions of similar resolutions garnered even more member state approvals (154 in 2019, 153 in 2018, and 155 in 2017). These overwhelming, lopsided judgments by national governments remain consistent over multiple years for 16 other annual resolutions addressing the conflict as well.
Catholic bishops of the region, with the Holy See, call for implementation of UN Resolutions as the means to a ‘peaceful, just and definitive solution.’
Another such landslide vote margin came in 2012 when the General Assembly granted Palestine “non-Member Observer State status” in the United Nations, with an “overwhelming majority” of 138 member nations voting in favor and just 9 against. Those opposed included, Israel, the United States, and Canada, again, bringing the isolation of these nations into great relief.
While the Palestinian authority has long maintained the “road of international law,” comprised of UN resolutions, to be the basis for reaching peace, this position of the vast majority of national governments of the world is also confirmed by the Catholic bishops of the Middle East as well, with the Holy See.
During its Middle East Synod under Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, the Catholic bishops of the region confirmed their support for application of UN Resolutions as a path to peace in the conflict:
We have evaluated the social situation and the public security in all our countries in the Middle East. We have taken account of the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the whole region, especially on the Palestinians who are suffering the consequences of the Israeli occupation: the lack of freedom of movement, the wall of separation and the military checkpoints, the political prisoners, the demolition of homes, the disturbance of socio-economic life and the thousands of refugees. We have reflected on the suffering and insecurity in which Israelis live…
The citizens of the countries of the Middle East call upon the international community, particularly the United Nations conscientiously to work to find a peaceful, just and definitive solution in the region, through the application of the Security Council’s resolutions and taking the necessary legal steps to put an end to the occupation of the different Arab territories.
The Palestinian people will thus have an independent and sovereign homeland where they can live with dignity and security. The State of Israel will be able to enjoy peace and security within their internationally recognized borders. The Holy City of Jerusalem will be able to acquire its proper status, which respects its particular character, its holiness and the religious patrimony of the three religions: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. We hope that the two-State-solution might become a reality and not a dream only (emphasis added).
The Vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, Father Ibrahim Faltas reported on Saturday that following Friday’s vote by the UN, which also happened to coincide with a universal day of prayer and fasting for peace, that Israel inflicted its “worst night [of bombardments] since 7 October.”
Comparing the situation to hell on earth, he emphasized “it is not an excessive comparison.”
“Hell is visible in the pictures of the dead and injured, of the destruction of homes, churches and mosques, hospitals, schools. We hear it with the emergency warning sirens on the background. We sense it in the heavy air that smells of death and suffering. The innocent victims of this war do not deserve the hell on earth they are living,” Fr. Faltas lamented.
In the 24 days since October 7, the death toll of Palestinians from Israeli bomb attacks in Gaza is currently 8,525, including 3,542 children and 2,187 women. The injured number 21,048 and more than 1,950 people are missing (1,050 children) and are suspected to be under the rubble.
Likewise, the Israeli death toll, mainly from the unprecedented Hamas attack, remains near 1,400 including one killed in the West Bank, one in Gaza, and 5,431 injured.
By comparison, the UN’s OHCHR reports total civilian fatalities for the Russia-Ukraine war, over the last 19 months, to be 9,701.
Friday’s resolution from the General Assembly concludes reaffirming “that a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions and in accordance with international law, and on the basis of the two-State solution.”