The United Nations General Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” in Gaza, as Hamas warned that it will respond with “full force” to the Israeli army as it expands its air and ground attacks on the Palestinian enclave.
The UNGA resolution was adopted with 120 states in favor, 14 against—Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Fiji, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tonga and the U.S.—and 45 abstentions. In addition to the ceasefire, it has also demanded “continuous, sufficient and unhindered” provision of lifesaving supplies and services for civilians trapped inside the enclave, as news reports suggest Israel has expanded ground operations and intensified its bombing campaign.
“The humanitarian system in Gaza is facing a total collapse with unimaginable consequences for more than 2 million civilians,” warned U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutteres in a statement on X, formerly Twitter. “Needs are growing ever more critical and colossal. Food, water, medicine and fuel must be allowed to reach all civilians swiftly, safely and at scale,” he added.
In a subsequent post, he reiterated his calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities. “I repeat my call for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Middle East, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of life-saving supplies at the scale needed,” he wrote. “Everyone must assume their responsibilities. This is a moment of truth. History will judge us all,” he added.
There is little information coming out of Gaza, as Israeli forces have specifically targeted telecommunications networks, virtually cutting the region off from the rest of the world. The communications blackout all-but-ensures the global community would not be immediately informed of the mounting number of casualties. Prior to the blackout, the Gazan Health Ministry had reported that over 7,300 Palestinians, more than 60 percent of them women and children, had been killed by the ceaseless Israeli bombardment, which has indiscriminately targeted hospitals, U.N. facilities, and even churches.
Lynn Hastings, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the occupied territories, in a posting on X warned that without phone lines and internet, hospitals and aid operations would be unable to operate. The Red Crescent, similarly, said it could not contact medical teams and residents could no longer call ambulances, meaning rescuers would have to chase explosions to find wounded. International aid groups said they were only able to reach a few staffers using satellite phones.
The Committee to Protect Journalists also expressed alarm, saying the world “is losing a window into the reality” of the conflict. It warned that the information vacuum “can be filled with deadly propaganda, dis- and misinformation.”
Despite the global calls for a truce, Israeli forces—and their facilitators in the U.S. and other Western states—have refused to pull back. Speaking with the AFP news agency, Israeli military spokesman Maj. Nir Dinar confirmed that his troops were “operating inside Gaza,” adding they had made “limited ground incursions” on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told media ground forces were “expanding their activity” in Gaza on Friday evening and “acting with great force … to achieve the objectives of the war.” He claimed Israel’s air force was conducting extensive strikes on tunnels dug by Hamas and on other infrastructure. Over the past week, Israel has amassed hundreds of thousands of troops along the border ahead of an expected ground offensive.
Reacting to the threat, Hamas has issued a statement confirming its fighters were clashing with Israeli troops in areas along the border between Israel and Gaza. “The Al-Qassam brigades and all the Palestinian resistance forces are completely ready to confront [Israel’s] aggression with full force and frustrate its incursions,” it said in a statement issued early on Saturday. “Netanyahu and his defeated army will not be able to achieve any military victory,” it added, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.