India, in a significant decision, on Friday chose to abstain during the recent United Nations General Assembly vote on a resolution addressing the Israel-Hamas conflict. The resolution called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, ultimately leading to the cessation of hostilities, as well as the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
The root of this vote lay in Israel's substantial counter-offensive against Hamas. This was prompted by unprecedented attacks by the terrorist group on October 7, resulting in the tragic loss of more than 1,400 lives.
During this crucial session of the United Nations General Assembly, which convened for the 10th Emergency Special Session, 193 member states cast their votes on the resolution. The proposal, titled "Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations," was submitted by Jordan and gained the support of over 40 co-sponsoring nations, including Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, and South Africa.
The resolution, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding civilians in the conflict, was adopted with 120 nations voting in favor, 14 against, and 45 abstaining. Notably, India was among the countries that abstained, a decision shared by Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Ukraine, and the UK.
Of note, the Jordanian-drafted resolution did not explicitly reference the terrorist group Hamas, which raised objections from the United States, who expressed their dismay at this perceived omission of culpability.
Before the vote, the General Assembly considered an amendment to the text, proposed by Canada and co-sponsored by the US. The amendment sought to insert a paragraph expressing unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attacks by Hamas that initiated on October 7, 2023, as well as the taking of hostages. It demanded the safe and humane treatment of hostages in compliance with international law and their immediate and unconditional release.
India, along with 87 other nations, voted in favour of this amendment, while 55 member states opposed it, and 23 abstained. However, the draft amendment did not secure the required two-thirds majority for adoption, as announced by Dennis Francis, the President of the 78th session of the UNGA.
The Jordanian-drafted resolution, at its core, called for an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a complete cessation of hostilities. It also urgently requested the continuous and unobstructed provision of essential goods and services, including water, food, medical supplies, fuel, and electricity, to the civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip.
The United States voiced its objections to the resolution's omission of naming Hamas and the term "hostage." They deemed these omissions as condoning and empowering Hamas's actions and called for a correction. This led to the co-sponsorship of an amendment by Canada, aiming to address these concerns.