The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a major resolution, calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.”

The resolution, proposed by Jordan and backed by over 45 member states, was approved during the ongoing 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly with 120 votes in favour, 14 against, and 45 abstentions.

This marks the United Nations’ first formal response to the hostilities following the Hamas attacks on October 7th, after the UN Security Council failed to reach a consensus on any action on four occasions. The resolution, though not legally binding, represents the prevailing opinion of the majority of UN member states.

The resolution specifically calls for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce”, and demands all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and “continuous, sufficient and unhindered” provision of essential supplies and services into the Gaza Strip.

It also demands the “immediate and unconditional release” of all civilians held captive, emphasising their safety, well-being, and humane treatment in accordance with international law.

The 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly began Thursday with President of the General Assembly Dennis Francis calling for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire, and the opening of aid corridors. He condemned the attack by Hamas on 7 October while also condemning Israel’s indiscriminate targeting of innocent civilians in Gaza and their destruction of critical infrastructure.

The session takes place against a backdrop of escalating Palestinian casualties due to Israeli attacks that started on 7 October. The latest figures reveal that Israeli forces have killed at least 7,326 Palestinians, including over 3,000 children, while more than 17,439, including 2,000 children and 1,400 women, have been wounded.

Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, was the first to speak at the session. He said, “You are speaking while families are being killed, while hospitals are coming to a halt, while neighbourhoods are being destroyed, while people are fleeing from one place to another with no safe place to go.”

Mansour recalled Israel’s recent comments in the UN Security Council about its people’s suffering and stated that Palestinians, too, were suffering. He added that Israel’s representative had called to “release the hostages, then take two million Palestinians hostage,” highlighting those trapped inside Gaza with nowhere to go while Israel continued to bombard mostly civilians and civilian structures, including hospitals and shelters.

Gilad Erdan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, continued the occupying power’s typical misdirection on the core issues by saying that the 7 October massacre, and what ensued had nothing to do with the Palestinians.

“Israel is at war with the genocidal jihadist Hamas terror organisation. It is the law-abiding democracy of Israel against modern day Nazis,” Erdan said, falling back on Israel’s – and those of the nation’s allies – false equivalencies, wilfully applying the same weight to state actors and non-state actors even as Israel continues to, in the most disproportionate manner imaginable, scale up attacks on Gaza on a daily basis.

Erdan spoke about the brutal killings of innocent Israeli civilians and the intentional targeting of Israeli medical teams during the Hamas attack, questioning why there hadn’t been a single condemnation of the barbarity against Israelis.

Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said there was no room for grey areas.

“Israel is making Gaza a hell on Earth… The trauma will haunt generations to come,” Safadi said.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, highlighted that the international community had been a witness to the “war crime and genocide of the occupying Israeli regime in Gaza and the West Bank of Palestine” for three weeks now.

“I say frankly to the American statesmen who are now managing the genocide in Palestine, that we do not welcome the expansion of war in the region, but I warn if the genocide in Gaza continues, they will not be spared from this fire,” Amir-Abdollahian stressed.

He also noted that according to Iranian negotiations, Hamas is ready to release civilian prisoners, presenting that the international community should support the release of 6,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Sidi Mohamed Laghdaf, Ambassador of Mauritania to UN, speaking on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, said that the absence of any moral, legal, or political consensus has only emboldened the occupying power, Israel, to carry on its illegal policy of colonial settlement and annexation with impunity. Israel was persisting with its denial of the violation of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence, a situation which was unacceptable and one that must be brought to an end, he said.

Additional reporting by Abdulla Shujau