In a first, India has voted against a UN General Assembly resolution backing the Palestine cause.
India’s opposition to the resolution on Friday was because it failed to condemn Hamas for its terrorist attack and the Assembly rejected an amendment supported by New Delhi that would have named the terror group.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Yojna Patel said after the vote, “The terror attacks in Israel on October 7 were shocking and deserve condemnation.”
“The world should not buy into any justification of terror acts. Let us keep aside differences, unite and adopt a zero-tolerance approach to terrorists,” she added.
The resolution that called for a truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict and provision of assistance to the people of Gaza passed with 120 votes while there were 14 votes against it and 45 abstentions, giving it a two-thirds majority of those present and voting.
India backed the amendment to the resolution moved by Canada that named Hamas and condemned its 7/10 attack, but it failed to pass, getting only 88 votes, while there were 54 votes against it, with 23 abstentions.
Patel said, “Terrorism is a malignancy and knows no borders, nationality or race.”
The Hamas attacks were “on a scale and intensity that is an affront to basic human values,” she added.
“Violence as a means to achieve political objective objectives, damages indiscriminately, and does not pave the way for any durable solutions.”
“We hope that the deliberations of this Assembly will send a clear message against terror and violence and expand prospects for diplomacy and dialogue while addressing the humanitarian crisis that confronts us,” she said.
The Assembly action came after the Security Council failed to pass four resolutions on Gaza, one each vetoed by Russia and the US, and two that did not get the minimum nine votes to pass.
The Assembly’s resolution is only symbolic because unlike the Security Council it does not have the power to enforce it.
Patel also spoke of the toll the conflict in Gaza has taken on civilians and said, “This humanitarian crisis needs to be addressed.”
“India is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and astounding loss of civilian lives in the ongoing conflict,” she added.
“Casualties in the ongoing front conflict in Gaza are a telling, serious and continuing concern; civilians especially women and children are paying with their lives,” she said.
She also reiterated India’s support for a two-state solution that would have Israel and Palestine living side-by-side as independent, sovereign states.
The resolution that passed was proposed by Jordan on behalf of the Arab group and Pakistan, Bangladesh and China were among the co-sponsors.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Munir Akram spoke against the amendment before the vote asserting that it lacked “equity and balance and fairness”.
If Hamas should be named, so should Israel, he said, adding that the resolution Islamabad co-sponsored was “circumspect” in not naming either of them.
Many countries that voted for the amendment switched to voting for the resolution even without the amendment or abstained, enabling its passage.
Britain and France were among the Western countries that made the switch and voted for the resolution.
France’s Permanent Representative Nicolas de Riviere explaining the change said that it sought to enable aid for the civilians of Gaza.
He said, “Nothing could justify the suffering of civilians. All of the victims of war are worthy of compassion, all of their lives are equally worthwhile. There’s no hierarchy.”
“We have to work collectively to set up a humanitarian truce, which could lead eventually to a ceasefire because the situation in Gaza is catastrophic,” he added.
Iraq, which voted against the resolution, later said that it was done in error and that it backs it.