In A Turn-Around, India Backs UNGA Resolution For Immediate Ceasefire In Gaza | World News


New Delhi: India on Tuesday joined the General Assembly’s call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, reversing its earlier position of abstaining. India’s Permanent Representative to UN, Ruchira Kamboj, said that India faced the “challenge” to “strike the right balance” among the various factors involved in the situation.

She said that India welcomed the fact that the international community had found a common ground to address the multiple challenges facing the region right now. She listed the challenges as the terrorist attack in Israel on October 7, the concern for the hostages taken by Hamas, the enormous humanitarian crisis and the large-scale loss of civilian lives in Gaza, the issue of observing international humanitarian law in all circumstances, and the endeavour to find a peaceful and lasting two-state solution to the long-standing Palestine question.

The resolution, presented by Egypt and Mauritania with scores of co-sponsors, was adopted on Tuesday with 153 votes in favour, 10 against and 23 abstentions. The resolution is only symbolic, as it does not have enforcement powers like the Security Council. The resolution also demanded the release of all hostages and called on all parties to comply with their international obligations, especially for protecting civilians and ensuring humanitarian access for relief to Gaza.

The resolution came amid the continuing Israel counterattack on Gaza in pursuit of Hamas, which has killed more than 18,000 Palestinians, over 8,600 of them children and 4,500 women, leading to support for Israel ebbing. The UN has warned of a breakdown in the humanitarian system in Gaza, where a majority of its 2.2 million residents have been displaced from their homes and face hunger and disease.

The resolution reflected the change in attitudes towards Israel, as the earlier resolution on October 27 received 121 votes in favour, 14 against and 44 abstentions, while the latest resolution on Tuesday received 153 votes in favour, 10 against and 23 abstentions. US President Biden on Tuesday acknowledged the situation, saying in Washington that Israel is “starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place”.

India, which had abstained on the October resolution because it did not condemn terrorism, voted for the latest resolution even though it did not condemn terrorism or name Hamas. India also supported an amendment moved by Austria to name Hamas as the party holding hostages and another by the US to condemn “the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas”, both of which were voted down on Tuesday. The US, Israel and Austria were among the 10 countries voting against the resolution, while Britain and Germany were among the abstainers.

UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis set the stage for the vote on the resolution, saying, “Right now, what we are seeing is an onslaught on civilians, the breakdown of humanitarian systems, and profound disrespect for both international law and international humanitarian law.” He added, “Clearly, what we are witnessing is the unprecedented collapse of an already-crumbling humanitarian system, in real time.”


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