S'pore votes in favour of UN General Assembly resolution calling for immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

The UN adopted the non-binding resolution which secured a large majority of votes.

Brenda Khoo | December 13, 2023, 09:16 PM



Singapore voted in favour of a United Nations (UN) General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza on Dec. 13 (Singapore time).

Singapore was among the 153 member states which voted in favour of the resolution during the emergency special session, according to the UN News.

The UN adopted the non-binding resolution, which passed by an overwhelming majority, with 10 voting against, and 23 abstaining.

Israel & the US voted against the resolution

The UNGA resolution came after a deadlock when the UN Security Council (UNSC) failed to pass a similar resolution several days on Dec. 8.

According to Al Jazeera, the U.S. vetoed the resolution and cast the sole opposing vote, causing the resolution not to succeed. The UK abstained. UNSC resolutions are legally binding, unlike UNGA resolutions.

During the UNGA, 153 of the UN member states voted in favour of the resolution, while 23 member states abstained, as reported by Reuters.

Meanwhile, Israel and the U.S. voted against the resolution, along with eight others.

Both countries claimed that the ceasefire would benefit Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

The UNGA resolution does not condemn Hamas or make any specific reference to the extremist group.

Image from UN News/X.

However, the U.S. has reportedly showed what may be the beginnings of a divide with Israel.

Before the resolution, Reuters quoted U.S. President Joe Biden as saying that Israel is “starting to lose” support originally gained from “most of the world” to fight against Hamas, due to its “indiscriminate bombing”.

He made this comment while speaking to his 2024 re-election campaign donors on Dec. 12 in New York.

Increasing level of support for a ceasefire

Biden’s remark reflects the increasing level of support among UN member states for a ceasefire.

In October, 120 countries voted in favour of the UNGA resolution calling for a humanitarian truce amidst the war. 14 voted against the resolution, while 45 others abstained from voting.

Singapore also voted yes to that resolution.

However, Singapore noted two "glaring and significant omissions" from the resolution. Permanent Representative of Singapore to the UN, Burhan Gafoor, said that the resolution failed to mention:

  1. Hamas' involvement in the large-scale and coordinated terror attacks on Oct. 7, which resulted in deaths and abductions.
  2. Israel’s legitimate right to defend its citizens and territory, in compliance with international law.

Despite the omissions, Gafoor explained that Singapore supported the resolution as it goes in tandem with the country's stance on being an advocate and defender of international law, the UN Charter and the rules-based multilateral system.

Ceasefire would 'greatly facilitate the urgent provision of aid': Vivian

Later on Nov. 24, a truce that was mediated by the U.S., Qatar and Egypt went into effect. It ended after seven days.

After the truce ended, Israel reportedly expanded its attack from north Gaza to the the south, Reuters reported.

On Dec. 13, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan wrote on Facebook that the ceasefire would "greatly facilitate the urgent provision of aid".

"Singapore co-sponsored both resolutions because we are deeply troubled by the continuing devastation and rising civilian casualties in Gaza," Vivian said, called on all parties to comply with international law, and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

Top image from UN News/X.

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