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Biden warns Israel losing support, as UN calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Biden warns Israel losing support, as UN calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

The United Nations on Tuesday demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as U.S. President Joe Biden warned Israel it was losing international support because of its “indiscriminate” bombing of civilians in its war against Hamas militants.

After dire warnings by U.N. officials about a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the 193-member U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire with 153 countries voting in favour and 23 abstaining. The U.S. and Israel, which argue a ceasefire only benefits Hamas, voted against the measure along with eight other countries.

Not a binding resolution

The 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.

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the resolution and urged countries to pressure Israel to adopt the ceasefire. 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.”

Before the resolution passed, Biden said Israel now has support from “most of the world” including the U.S. and European Union. “But they’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” he told a campaign donor event in Washington.

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

Israel launched its onslaught after a cross-border raid by Hamas fighters who killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostage in southern Israel on Oct. 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.

In Khan Younis, southern Gaza’s main city, residents said on Tuesday Israeli tank shelling was now focused on the city centre. One said tanks were operating in the street where the house of Yahya Al-Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, is located.

After nightfall, Israeli air strikes on Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip killed 11 Palestinians, including two children, health officials said.

Losing support

In addition to warning that Israel was starting to lose international support, Biden said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needed to change his hard-line government and that ultimately Israel “can’t say no” to an independent Palestinian state – something that Israeli hardliners oppose.

In a further sign of world concern over the conduct of the conflict, now in its third month, Australia, Canada and New Zealand said they supported international efforts toward a sustainable ceasefire and expressed alarm at the plight of civilians in Gaza.

“The price of defeating Hamas cannot be the continuous suffering of all Palestinian civilians,” leaders of the three countries said in a joint statement.

The three countries said they supported Palestinians’ right to self-determination, but that there could be no role for Hamas in the future governance of Gaza.

 

 

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