With those votes failing at the 15 member Security Council, the locus of diplomatic action shifted to the 193 member UN General Assembly. Here, every country has a vote and no country has a veto. The resolutions are not binding, but they are an important reflection of international sentiment. Today, it was clear that the overwhelming majority of UN member states want an immediate humanitarian truce.
The voting began with a Canadian amendment to the Jordan draft which included a direct condemnation of Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack. Canada, the United States and many western countries insisted that this condemnatory language be included in order to secure their support. That amendment failed to garner the required two-thirds majority to pass, failing with a tally of 88 in favor, 53 against, and 23 abstentions.
Here is a breakdown of the vote on the Canadian-drafted amendment to include an explicit condemnation of Hamas’ attack.
With that amendment failed, the General Assembly voted on the original resolution which called for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.” This language was crafted as a compromise between “humanitarian pauses” and “immediate ceasefire,” but its intention was clear: the fighting needs to halt immediately for humanitarian reasons.
Here is how every country voted on the resolution, which is considered adopted because it garnered two-thirds majority with 120 affirmative, 14 against and 45 abstentions.
As you can see, the United States and Israel were quite isolated in their opposition.
Europe was always going to be a key swing vote. After the Canadian amendment failed most European (and western) countries opted to abstain from the resolution, rather than joining the United States in voting against it. This includes Canada! It would seem that very few countries are willing to be on the record opposing a humanitarian truce as the conditions in Gaza so rapidly deteriorate.
How Do The Vote Totals Compare to the latest Ukraine Resolution?
The last time the General Assembly held a major vote on a pressing issue of war and peace was in February for the one year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. General Assembly held a day long session to debate a resolution that called for Russia’s immediate withdraw from Ukraine, in line with the UN Charter.
In the end, 141 UN member states voted in favor. And Seven against: Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, Syria, and of course Russia. 32 countries abstained, including China, India, Pakistan and South Africa
Here’s the full vote:
In a speech to the American public last week, President Biden sought to link Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion to Israel’s own national security threat from Hamas. Most of the rest of that world apparently does not share this sentiment.