UN To Hold New Gaza Ceasefire Vote

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Thousands marched from Bayazit Square to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, during Monday’s general strike for Gaza

THE UNITED Nations General Assembly began an emergency session yesterday to debate a resolution demanding ‘an immediate humanitarian ceasefire’ in Gaza.

No country has a veto power in the 193-member General Assembly, which this Friday will vote on a draft resolution that mirrors the one that was vetoed by the United States in the 15-member Security Council last week.

The UK abstained – the only other Security Council member that did not vote in favour of the resolution on Friday.

Ahead of the debate, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Masour, told a press conference yesterday: ‘After last Friday when we had an unprecedented number of co-sponsors to the draft resolution from outside the Council – 103 countries – unfortunately that draft was defeated by the casting of a veto, despite the fact that 13 voted in favour.

‘Immediately after that we had consultations among the groups, co-sponsoring this effort and decided to send a letter to the President of the General Assembly from the Chair of the Arab Group and the Chair of the OIC requesting the resumption of the 10th emergency session.

‘We are very grateful that the President of the General Assembly cooperated with us very quickly and with his staff, and circulated as you know a letter to the membership of the United Nations during the weekend indicating that he would be reconvening the 10th Emergency Session on Tuesday afternoon, today.

‘We also applauded the draft resolution and we are collecting co-sponsorships and the number is very high, it could well reach 100, but more importantly are the countries which will vote in favour, so we are in full mobilisation mode…

‘The fact that we are meeting on Tuesday after the veto on Friday indicates that the situation is dire and we need action and we need it as quickly as possible.

‘So we are not going to have a long debate and then vote at the end, which is customary, but now we are going to vote on the draft resolution at the beginning and then continue with the debate… it will be taken on Friday, when the General Assembly, very appropriately, will be commemorating and celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.

‘So the situation is a massive tragedy for human rights, particularly for children and women in the Gaza Strip, so the continuation of the debate during that appropriate time is very fitting.

‘Now as you probably know there might be some ammendments from those who are still insisting to politicise the subject and they are not satisfied with everything else, including what the SG (Secretary General) said… They insist on trying to politicise a humanitarian resolution. We are determined that we will not allow such amendments to succeed. We will oppose them. We will defeat these ammendments…

‘If the great majority of the General Assembly demands an immediate ceasefire there is no explanation to that sentence or that provision other than that it is binding and Israel has to abide by it and those who are shielding and protecting Israel until now must look at it this way and therefore act accordingly.’