The vote came as Israel cut all communications in Gaza before launching its heaviest bombardment since the start of the weeks-long war.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a non-binding Arab resolution for a humanitarian truce in Gaza on Friday as Israel carried out its heaviest bombardment on the Strip under a complete communications blackout.
The intergovernmental organisation adopted the resolution, drafted by Jordan on behalf of the Arab League, following an overwhelming majority vote of 120 members, including Qatar. The resolution also saw 14 votes against it and 45 abstentions.
Israel and its main ally, the United States, which has blocked at least three other proposals that called for a humanitarian ceasefire amid the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza, rejected the proposal.
The Arab resolution calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and demands access for much-needed aid into the besieged Gaza Strip.
Canada, which abstained from voting, called for an amendment that included condemning Hamas and its capture of “hostages” during the 7 October attack, though the suggestion was rejected.
Israel, together with its western backers, has used the unprecedented Palestinian operation to justify its deadliest bombardment of Gaza.
Since the start of the war, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have killed at least 7,326 people, including at least 3,038 children and 1,726 women—both of which represent around 70% of the overall casualties.
Palestine’s envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour welcomed the majority vote on Friday.
“We thank you as journalists in covering our story, because some of the media is blinded by the narrative is not fairly covering our story, please cover it completely, cover it comprehensively, cover the massacres and the crimes committed against our people in Gaza,” Mansour added.
Jordan’s foreign minister Ayman Safadi welcomed the adoption of the resolution, noting that the “UNGA spoke for justice” in doing so.
“Adopting the resolution Jordan presented on behalf of Arab countries is a clear stand against Israel’s war, against the killing of Palestinians, against war crimes, on the side of international law. We all must not relent until this catastrophe ends,” Safadi said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Despite Jordan sharing diplomatic relations with Israel, it has appeared to take a bold stance against the occupation’s bombardment latest onslaught on Gaza.
“Israel’s war on Gaza, with brutality of ground attack playing live on TV screens, is pushing [the] region into the abyss. [The international] community must unequivocally stand against it. Supporting [the] UNGA Arab Res is a must expression of world refusal this catastrophe. Consequences will haunt all,” Safadi said in another post on X.
Meanwhile, earlier reports pointed towards a potential ceasefire as well as a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas with Qatari mediation. Sources had told Al Jazeera that the talks were“progressing and at an advanced stage”, though it now appears those efforts have been jeopardised by Israel’s unleashing of airstrikes in the besieged Strip.
The vote came as Israel cut all communications in Gaza, including the internet, cellular and landline networks, before launching its heaviest bombardment since the start of the weeks-long war.
“It seems that the occupation intends to commit a new criminal act without the world knowing about it. I fear that something terrible will happen and we will not be able to communicate it to the outside world,” Palestinian photographer Belal Khaled, who is currently in Gaza, posted on Instagram.
In a statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said it “is highly alarmed by widespread reports of a communications blackout in Gaza.”
“A communications blackout is a news blackout. This can lead to serious consequences with an independent, factual information vacuum that can be filled with deadly propaganda, dis- and misinformation. CPJ is aware that many journalists remain on the ground in Gaza and many international journalists have flocked to Israel to cover the war,” it said.
The independent organisation said it “documented the deadliest period for journalists covering conflict” since it started tracking the figures in 1992.
“From October 7-27, 2023, at least 29 journalists were among more than 8,000 dead on both sides since the war began. This deadly toll is coupled with harassment, detentions and other reporting obstructions in areas that include the West Bank and Israel,” CPJ added.
Gaza has been facing a complete siege since 8 October that has cut off its 2.3 million population from electricity, water, fuel, and food. The Israeli siege has led to the total collapse of Gaza’s health sector.
In a statement on Friday, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said it has “completely lost contact with the operations room” in Gaza. First responders have also been unable to reach victims as they are unable to locate them under the heavy bombardment and lack of communications.
“We are deeply concerned about the ability of our teams to continue providing their emergency medical services, especially since this disruption affects the central emergency number ‘101’ and hinders the arrival of ambulance vehicles to the wounded and injured,” PRCS said.
It added: “We are also worried about the safety of our teams working in Gaza Strip as the continuous and intense Israeli airstrikes around the clock indicate that the Israeli authorities will continue to commit war crimes while isolating Gaza from the outside world.”
Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the move was part of Israel’s attempts “to create an image of victory”.
“Cutting off communications from the Gaza Strip is an attempt to cover up the crimes of the [Israeli] occupation without any oversight or accountability,” Hamdan said.
Meanwhile, social media users have also flooded X by calling on its owner Elon Musk to connect Starlink internet services for people in Gaza.
Israel plans to proceed ground incursion
Israel has appeared to step closer to its goal of a ground invasion of Gaza as it ramped up its bombardment of the city on Friday. Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Fox News that Israel is “beefing up the pressure” on Hamas.
“They will continue to be on the receiving end of our military blows until we have dismantled their military machine and dissolve their political structure in Gaza,” he said.
He added: “When this is over, Gaza will be very different.”
The Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, said they “foiled an Israeli ground incursion into Beit Hanoun and the east of Bureij”, while confirming that violent clashes erupted in the sites.
An Israeli military spokesperson told ABC News that Friday’s operations are not an official ground invasion.
“We are conducting our sweep and clear activities in order to create better conditions for optimal operational conditions on the ground,” Israeli military spokesperson Peter Lerner told ABC News.
He added: “So we are seeking out anti-tank capabilities, we are destroying observation posts and we are engaging the terrorists where we find them on the front lines or in the peripheral of the Gaza Strip.”
Meanwhile, there have been mounting fears for the fate of the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, where at least 40,000 displaced Palestinians are taking shelter.
This came after Israeli spokesman Daniel Hagari claimed that Hamas had “turned hospitals into command and control centres and hideouts for Hamas terrorists and commanders”.
In turn, Hamas’ political official Ezzat El-Reshiq slammed the Israeli allegations as baseless.
The concerning statements have sparked fears over another massacre on a medical facility just days after the IOF on 17 October struck the Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in Gaza, in which it killed at least 500 Palestinians seeking treatment and shelter.