Israel-Hamas conflict: After abstaining from similar poll, India votes in favour of UNGA Gaza ceasefire resolution

Team India Sentinels Wednesday 13th of December 2023 07:31 AM

UN general assembly during Gaza ceasefire vote. (Photo via Twitter)

New Delhi: India seems to have changed its recent stand on the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and voted in favour of a United Nations general assembly resolution calling for a ceasefire in the besieged Palestinian enclave, on Tuesday. India had abstained from a similar UNGA vote on October 27 calling for a truce between the belligerents, which didn’t mention the October 7 Hamas attack on Israeli military camps and kibbutzim.

Tuesday’s resolution, sponsored by several countries, including Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, etc, demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. A total of 153 countries voted in favour of the resolution, while 10 countries voted against it and 23 abstained.

Those who voted against the resolution apart from Israel and its staunch backer the United States are Austria, Czechia (Czech Republic), Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and Paraguay. The countries which abstained from the UNGA vote are Argentina, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Malawi, Marshall Islands, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Romania, Slovakia, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

Speaking at the UN on India voting for Tuesday’s UNGA resolution, Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent representative to the UN, said, “India has voted in favour of the resolution just adopted by the general assembly. The situation that this August body has been deliberating upon has many dimensions. There was the terrorist attack in Israel on October 7 and the concern for the hostages taken at that time. There is an enormous humanitarian crisis and a large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially of women and children. There is the issue of observing international humanitarian law in all circumstances. And there is the endeavour to find a peaceful and lasting two-state solution to the longstanding Palestine question.”

Earlier, India’s decision to abstain from the UNGA vote on October 27 drew sharp criticism from some traditional allies and the sections of the country’s political parties and rights defenders. India had historically been a supporter of the Palestinian cause and backs the two-state solution between Israel and Palestine for peaceful coexistence. However, in recent years, India tried to de-hyphenate its ties with Israel from Palestine.

It may be mentioned that, on Wednesday, the United Nations secretary-general António Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, urging the UN security council to act on the war in Gaza and call for an immediate ceasefire. The US vetoed the resolution while the UK abstained. All other 13 members, including the other three permanent members and 10 non-permanent members voted in favour of the resolution.

The UNSC resolutions are binding while the UNGA resolutions are not.

The current conflict saw Israel razing half of the besieged Palestinian city’s residential neighbourhoods, hospitals, refugee camps, and schools through relentless aerial and artillery bombardment since the October 7 Hamas raid that saw 1,200 Israelis dead, including many civilians. Hamas also took near 250 hostages from Israel, some of whom were released in a prisoner exchange during a temporary ceasefire in November. However, Hamas still holds over 150 Israeli hostages, many of them belonging to the Israeli military.

Israel has killed over 18,000 Palestinians in Gaza, mostly women and children. According to independent sources, over 8,000 children have been killed in Israeli attacks in the Gaza strip since October 7. Tens of thousands of Palestinian citizens have been injured, many of them being maimed for life. 

Since the beginning of the latest conflict, Israel blocked entry of all food and medical items into the Gaza strip and cut water, electricity, and fuel supplies. It allowed aid to enter the strip through the Egypt-controlled Rafah border crossing during the temporary ceasefire the two sides agreed upon to enable prisoner exchanges.

Apart from that, since the beginning of 2023, around 500 Palestinians, including women, children, and the old, were killed by illegal Israeli settlers and security forces in the West Bank, nearly half of which after October 7. The West Bank has no Hamas presence. The Palestinian territories there are controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

On the other hand, according to several independent international media reports, since Israel started its ground invasion of Gaza, over 300 Israeli army personnel have been killed with over 5,000 injured, many of them permanently.


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