UN demands Gaza ceasefire as Israel and US divided

Israel is facing growing diplomatic isolation in its war against Hamas as the United Nations demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and US President Joe Biden told the longtime ally its "indiscriminate" bombing of civilians was hurting international support.

After dire warnings from UN officials about a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the 193-member General Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire with three-quarters of member states voting in favour.

"The price of defeating Hamas cannot be the continuous suffering of all Palestinian civilians," the leaders of Canada, Australia and New Zealand said separately in a joint statement calling for a ceasefire.

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the resolution and urged countries to pressure Israel to comply. 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".

The US and Israel, which argue a ceasefire only benefits Hamas, voted against the measure along with eight other countries.

Before the UN vote, Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said: "A ceasefire means one thing and one thing only - ensuring the survival of Hamas, ensuring the survival of genocidal terrorists committed to the annihilation of Israel and Jews."

Before the resolution, Biden said Israel now has support from "most of the world" including the US and European Union for its fight against the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

"But they're starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place," he told a campaign donor event in Washington.

In the most public sign of division between the leaders so far, Biden also said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needed to change his hardline government and that ultimately Israel "can't say no" to an independent Palestinian state - something that Israeli hardliners oppose.

Israel's assault on Gaza to root out Hamas has killed at least 18,205 Palestinians including many children and wounded nearly 50,000 since October 7, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The conflict has also led to starvation, displaced 85 per cent of the population from their homes and caused diseases to spread, according to the UN and Gaza health ministry.

Israel launched its onslaught after a cross-border raid by Hamas fighters who killed 1200 people and took 240 hostage 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.

The UN 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 but does not have a veto in the General Assembly.

Tuesday's resolution got 153 votes in favour, 10 against and 23 abstentions. In an indication of weakening support for Israel, the resolution passed by a wider margin than a similar UN measure in October, which got 121 votes in favour, 14 against and 44 abstentions.

Palestinians evacuate survivors of an Israeli bombardment in Rafah
Residents say the shelling of Rafah was some of the heaviest in days.

In the south Gaza town of Rafah, which borders Egypt and where the Israeli army this month told civilians they would be safe, Gazans said the shelling was some of the heaviest in days. Health officials said 22 people including children were killed there.

Israel's military said that over the past day it hit several posts that were used to fire rockets at its territory, raided a Hamas compound where it found some 250 rockets among other weapons and struck a weapons production factory.

Israeli soldiers near the border between Gaza and southern Israel
Israel's ground assault that started in the north has expanded to southern Gaza.

Israel on Wednesday said eight more of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza fighting, taking the total to 114 since ground operations began on October 20.

Biden said he had heard unconfirmed reports there were no hostages in the tunnels. Some hostages freed during a ceasefire reported they had been held in tunnels. The Israeli military said it was looking into the reports.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store