Australia Finally Calls For A Ceasefire In Gaza, Joining 153 Countries At The UN General Assembly


The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese released a joint statement with New Zealand and Canada in support of one.

The votes in favour of a ceasefire were overwhelming, with 153 in support of a ceasefire, 10 against and 23 abstentions.

Australia voted in favour of a ceasefire in the United Nations General Assembly, in a rare vote against the US and Israel. The UK abstained from the vote.

153 countries voted in favour of a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

Australia votes in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza

Albanese, along with New Zealand’s prime minister Christopher Luxon and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, called for an end to the “continuous suffering” of the people of Gaza, but also maintained Israel’s “right to defend itself”.

The statement began with a condemnation of the Hamas attack on October 7 and the killing of 1,200 Israelis. However, it did not condemn Israel’s subsequent killing of more than 18,000 Palestinians in two months.

“We recognise Israel’s right to exist and right to defend itself. In defending itself, Israel must respect international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected,” the statement read.

“We are alarmed at the diminishing safe space for civilians in Gaza. The price of defeating Hamas cannot be the continuous suffering of all Palestinian civilians.”

The statement called for “safe and unimpeded humanitarian access” to be both increased and sustainable.

“The recent pause in hostilities allowed for the release of more than 100 hostages and supported an increase in humanitarian access to affected civilians,” the statement said.

“We acknowledge the persistent diplomatic efforts of the United States, Qatar, and Egypt to broker this pause, and we regret it could not be extended.”

It’s worth noting here that Australia abstained from voting for a ceasefire earlier this year, and the US actively voted against one alongside Israel. Just earlier this week, the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

Anthony Albanese has had a shifting stance in relation to Gaza, sympathising with Palestinians but ultimately defending Israel’s “right to defend itself”. (Image: Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)

“We want to see this pause resumed and support urgent international efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire,” the statement continued.

“This cannot be one-sided. Hamas must release all hostages, stop using Palestinian civilians as human shields, and lay down its arms.”

The statement called for a removal of Hamas from the future governance of Gaza, but stated that it also supports “Palestinians’ rights to self-determination”. The prime ministers then called for a two-state solution, and named settler violence as a force impeding this solution.

“We oppose the forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, the re-occupation of Gaza, any reduction in territory, and any use of siege or blockade,” the statement said.

“We emphasise that Gaza must no longer be used as a platform for terrorism. We reaffirm that settlements are illegal under international law. Settlements and settler violence are serious obstacles to a negotiated two-state solution.”

The statement concluded with a call for Houthis to stop their attacks on Israeli ships heading to arm IDF forces in Gaza, and a generic condemnation of anti-semitic, Islamophobic and anti-Arab racism.

Image: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images