TAG: GS 2: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
THE CONTEXT: India recently voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that called on Israel for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of civilians in accordance with international law and the release of all hostages.
- The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for ceasefire and for the release of hostages and for the observance of international law.
- India was among 153 countries that made up a massive 4/5th majority in the Assembly who voted in favour of the resolution. Only 10 countries, including the U.S. and Israel, voted against the resolution, and 23 countries, mainly from Europe abstained.
ISRAEL AND PALESTINE REMARKS:
- Despite being “unsatisfied” with the UNGA resolution, Israel said it appreciated India’s support and votes in favour of two proposed amendments of both U.S. and Austria that were not adopted by the UNGA.
- The Palestinian Ambassador thanked India for support and said that all countries must say “enough is enough”.
- Earlier India has not supported the resolution as the resolution did not include any specific reference to the October 7 terror attacks in Israel by
- In the explanation of vote (EoV), India did not clarify the reason for India’s shift but said that India “welcomes” the fact that the international community had been able to find a “common ground” to address the situation in West Asia.
- ‘Two-state solution’: India mentioned the October 7 “terrorist attack” without naming Hamas, the “humanitarian crisis and large-scale loss of civilian lives”. There is a need to observe the international humanitarian law “in all circumstances”, and the effort to find a lasting “two-state solution” to the question of Palestine.
THE UNGA RESOLUTION
- The UNGA resolution “Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations”, was introduced by Egypt and co-sponsored by 21 countries.
- It was followed by the U.S.’s decision to veto a similar resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the N. Security Council.
- The U.S. decision was unusual as it came despite an explicit invocation of “Article 99” by U.N. Secretary General that the situation in Gaza “threatens the maintenance of international peace and security,”. Article 99 has not been invoked by UNSG since 1989 and the war in Lebanon.
- “The gravity and complexity of what the international community faces is underlined by the Secretary General invoking Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations.
IMPLICATION OF THE RESOLUTION:
- While the UNGA does not have the power to enforce its resolutions as the UNSC does, it carries the sentiment of the global community against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza that has rendered more than a million people homeless.
RESOLUTION BY USA AND AUSTRIA:
- At the UNGA the U.S. also proposed an amendment that would insert a specific mention of “heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting 7 October 2023 and the taking of hostages”.
- Austria proposed an amendment to name Hamas and other groups that are holding Israeli hostages.
- India voted in favour of them, but both amendments were dropped as they did not receive the votes required.
Both Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law. The challenge in this extraordinarily difficult time is to strike the right balance.Spread the Word