Israel-Palestine conflict: UN overwhelmingly backs Gaza cease-fire

The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a immediate cease-fire, putting pressure on Israel and the US. Meanwhile, US media says Israel started pumping water into Hamas tunnels in Gaza

153 of 193 UN member nations voted in favor of a cease-fire in Gaza. (photo: DW)
153 of 193 UN member nations voted in favor of a cease-fire in Gaza. (photo: DW)


  • Three quarters of UN General Assembly vote for Gaza cease-fire resolution

  • Palestinian envoy to UN calls General Assembly cease-fire resolution 'historic'

  • 10 countries including United States and Israel voted against

  • US media: Israel starts flooding Hamas tunnels with seawater

UN General Assembly backs resolution for immediate cease-fire

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has approved a resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza.

The resolution was backed by a wide majority, with 153 of 193 member nations supporting the call to halt the conflict.

The resoution was voted against by the United States, Israel, Austria, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay. There were 23 abstentions, including Germany and the UK.

The UNGA vote came days after the United States vetoed a similar resolution in the UN Security Council.

Arab and Muslim-majority nations had called for an emergency session of the 193-member General Assembly to vote on the resolution.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding. But the assembly's message reflects world opinion, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, and puts pressure on the US and Israel.

UN vote is 'historic' — Palestinian envoy

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations said the overwhelming vote in favor of a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, in which 153 countries backed a cessation of fighting, marked a "historic day."

Riyad Mansour said the vote demonstrates that the US could no longer continue "to ignore this massive power" and described the General Assembly vote as a culmination of public sentiment.

"Today was a historic day in terms of the powerful message that was sent from the General Assembly," said the Palestinian ambassador.

"It is our collective duty to continue in this path until we see an end to this aggression against our people."

Israel starts to flood Hamas tunnels with seawater — reports

Israel has started pumping seawater through the network of Hamas-operated tunnels beneath Gaza, according to reports published by US outlets The Wall Street Journal and ABC News.

The tunnels are crucial for militant group Hamas, who keep hostages, food, fighters and munitions below ground level.

The flooding attempt, however, could contaminate Gaza's fresh water supply and take weeks to have any strategic effect, an unnamed US official told US media.

Israel is believed to be evaluating the strategy's effectiveness. Israel has not yet commented on the US reports.

Israel began its military operation in Gaza on 7 October in response to a Hamas attack, which killed 1,200 people. Around 240 people were also taken hostage by the militant group, which is recognised as a terrorist organization by the US, Germany, the EU and others.

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Published: 13 Dec 2023, 8:27 AM