The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a resolution presented by Egypt demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, and for the release of all hostages.
Just before the vote was taken during an emergency special session, the UN shot down two amendments to the resolution – one from Austria and another from the U.S. – condemning Hamas, as both required a two-thirds majority vote of approval to pass.
The President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis, opened the emergency session just after 3 p.m. on Tuesday, telling the room full of representatives that tens of thousands of people have died since the war in Gaza between Hamas and Israel began on Oct. 7, with even more being displaced by violence with nowhere safe to go.
All the while, he added, the blockade of humanitarian assistance makes the delivery of any type of humanitarian aid near impossible.
‘Clearly, what we are witnessing is the unprecedented collapse of an already crumbling humanitarian system in real time,’ Francis said. ‘No more time is left. The carnage must stop.’
The meeting was called to vote on a resolution from Egypt out of grave concern over the ‘catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population.’
Egypt emphasized in the resolution that the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected in accordance with international law and demanded the immediate ceasefire for humanitarian purposes.
The resolution reiterates that all parties involved in the conflict comply with obligations under international law, specifically in terms of the protection of civilians, while also demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
The resolution read, ‘…Demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access.’
Austria presented an amendment to Egypt’s resolution to add, ‘held by Hamas and other groups’ after the word, ‘hostages.’ It also sought to add the word, ‘immediate’ after ‘ensuring.’
Had the resolution passed, it would have read, ‘…Demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, as well as ensuring immediate humanitarian access.’
The U.S. also presented an amendment seeking the addition of a paragraph that read, ‘Unequivocally rejects and condemns the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting 7 October 2023 and the taking of hostages.’
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the assembly that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire and requires urgent and sustained attention.
She also called on the assembly to speak out against Hamas.
‘We support speaking out with a voice to condemn Hamas for its terrorist actions on the seventh,’ she said. ‘Why is that so hard to say unequivocally that murdering babies and gunning down parents in front of their children is horrific? That burning down houses while families shelter inside and taking civilians hostage is abhorrent. It’s why today the United States is proposing an amendment that unequivocally rejects and condemns these atrocities, and we urge all members to vote yes and declare that what happened on October 7th is intolerable. Period.’
Also, before the vote, Israel UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan spoke and held up a ceasefire plaque with the number for Hamas leader Yehiya Sinwar with his telephone number.
‘I have an idea. If you want a real ceasefire, here is the right address,’ Erdan said. ‘This is the phone number of Hamas’s office in Gaza. You can all call…and ask for Yassin…tell Hamas to put down their arms, turn themselves in and return our hostages. This will bring a complete ceasefire that will last forever.’
When it came to a vote, Austria’s amendment received 89 votes in favor and 61 votes against, with 20 representatives abstaining. But the amendment failed to get a two-thirds majority vote and ultimately failed.
The U.S. amendment received a vote of 84-62 with 25 abstentions, but it also failed to receive the supermajority vote.
Egypt’s resolution was ultimately adopted with a 153-10 vote, with 23 abstentions.
David Hammelburg of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.