The United Nations on Tuesday demanded a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as U.S. President Joe Biden warned Israel it was losing international support because of its “indiscriminate” bombing of civilians in its war against Hamas militants.
After dire warnings by UN officials about a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the 193-member UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire with 153 countries voting in favour and 23 abstaining.
The U.S. and Israel, which argue ceasefire only benefits Hamas, voted against the measure along with eight other countries. The resolution is not binding but carries political weight, reflecting a global view on the war.
The United States vetoed a similar call in the 15-member Security Council last week.
The Palestinian Authority welcomed the resolution and urged countries to pressure Israel to adopt the ceasefire.
A Hamas official in exile, Izzat El-Reshiq, in a statement on Telegram, echoed that reaction, saying Israel should “stop its aggression, genocide, and ethnic cleansing against our people.”
Before the resolution passed, Biden said Israel now has support from “most of the world” including the U.S. and European Union.
“But they’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” he told a campaign donor event in Washington.
Israel’s assault on Gaza to root out Hamas has killed at least 18,205 Palestinians and wounded nearly 50,000 since October 7, according to the Gaza health ministry.
Israel launched its onslaught after a cross-border raid by Hamas fighters who killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages in southern Israel on October 7.
Israel on Tuesday declared 19 of 134 people still in captivity in Gaza dead in absentia after the bodies of two hostages were recovered.
In Khan Younis, southern Gaza’s main city, residents said on Tuesday Israeli tank shelling was now focused on the city centre.
One said tanks were operating in the street where the house of Yahya Al-Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, is located.
After nightfall, Israeli air strikes on Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip killed 11 Palestinians, including two children, health officials said.
An older Palestinian, Tawfik Abu Breika, earlier said his residential block in Khan Younis was hit without warning by an Israeli air strike that brought down several buildings and caused casualties.
“The world’s conscience is dead, no humanity or any kind of morals. This is the third month that we are facing death and destruction,” Breika told Reuters as neighbours sifted through rubble.