Fiji was amongst 14 countries that opposed a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian truce in Gaza while 120 countries voted in favour.
The Assembly adopted resolution titled “Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations” was — put forward by Jordan on behalf of the Arab group.
It also condemns all acts of violence against Palestinian and Israeli civilians, including all “terror and indiscriminate attacks”.
The United Nations resolution calls for unhindered aid and protection of civilians.
Fiji, U.S, Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay and Tonga voted against the ceasefire—120 votes in favour and 45 countries abstained.
Resolutions by the General Assembly are not legally binding, but they carry moral weight because of the universality of its membership.
Speaking afterwards, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, made a strongly worded speech, saying the UN “no longer holds one ounce of legitimacy or relevance”.
“Israel has the right to defend itself. The only way to ensure that the atrocities will never be repeated is the eradication of Hamas’s terror capabilities. This resolution does not even name Hamas as if this war started on its own,” he said.
Then he raised his voice and asked: “Why are you defending murderers? What is going on here? Why are you not holding Hamas accountable?”
“Israel will continue to defend itself, Israel will do what must be done to eradicate Hamas’ capabilities and bring the hostages home. And we will bring them home,” he concluded.
‘Lack of compassion’, says former Fiji PM
Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji’s vote at the United Nations on the war between Israel and Hamas demonstrated our lack of compassion for those who have been displaced as a result of the conflict.
Bainimarama said that instead of taking sides in the conflict, government’s stand should have been to save the thousands of innocent lives, including those of women and children – Many of whom have lost everything.
In a video recording, the FijiFirst Party leader said the vote for peace and diplomatic resolutions, to end the suffering of innocent civilians and importantly to send critical humanitarian aid and supplies into the Gaza Strip would have been better.
“This was unfortunately what our current Government has not seen fit to do and voted against the resolution.”
The former Prime Minister said Fiji has always been a friend to all and enemy to none – And our stance has to be to keep the peace.
He added that unfortunately this is not the case now.
Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly on Friday adopted a major resolution on the Gaza crisis, calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.”
The resolution breaks the deadlock at the UN over a response to the Israel-Palestine crisis which erupted on 7 October, where Member States on the Security Council have failed to reach agreement on four draft resolutions.
The breakdown of the recorded vote, conducted shortly before 4pm (New York time), included 120 members in favour and 14 against, with 45 abstentions. [One UN member country, citing technical difficulties, changed its vote after the vote was recorded, so the final tally was 121 in favour to 14 against, with 44 abstentions.]
As decided by the General Assembly in earlier in the day, the resolution required a two-thirds majority of members present and voting to be adopted.
In the resolution “protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations”, the Assembly, also demanded that all parties “immediately and fully comply” with obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws, “particularly in regard to the protection of civilians and civilian objects.”
It also urged the protection of humanitarian personnel, persons hors de combat, and humanitarian facilities and assets, and to enable and facilitate humanitarian access for essential supplies and services to reach all civilians in need in the Gaza Strip.”
Furthermore, the resolution called for rescinding of the order by Israel, “the occupying Power”, for Palestinian civilians, UN staff and humanitarian workers to evacuate all areas in the Gaza Strip north of Wadi Gaza and relocate to the south.
The General Assembly also called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all civilians being illegally held captive, demanding their safety, well-being and humane treatment in compliance with international law.
It also reaffirmed that a “just and lasting solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means, based on the relevant UN resolutions and in accordance with international law, and on the basis of the two-State solution.
The Assembly also decides to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.
Prior to taking action on the resolution, an amendment led by Canada did not pass, as it failed to reach the required two-thirds majority. That amendment would have “unequivocally reject[ed] and condemn[ed] the terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting on 07 October 2023 and the taking of hostages.