Why did Greece vote "yes" to the UN resolution on Gaza


The dramatic turn that the conflict in Gaza has taken, the significant losses among civilians and the humanitarian crisis that cause concern even for the strongest supporters of Israel, but also the maintenance of balance not only with Israel but also with the Arabs and the countries that will soon be invited to elect the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (where Greece is also a candidate) are the reasons that led Athens to vote in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution calling for a "humanitarian truce".

The non-binding resolution was approved by a large majority of 153 countries, with 10 voting against and 23 abstaining.

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The resolution, which makes no mention of Hamas, calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and expresses serious concern over the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the plight of the Palestinian civilian population and states that Palestinians and Israelis must be protected under international humanitarian law.

It also demands that all parties comply with international humanitarian law, in particular about the protection of civilians, and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring the access of humanitarian aid.

Two amendments were proposed in the resolution, but they were rejected. The one from the United States added a paragraph stating that it categorically rejects and condemns the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas. The other, proposed by Austria, would add the call for the immediate release of the hostages still held by Hamas.

Athens, after intensive consultations in the last days of the Prime Minister Mr. Mitsotakis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs G. Gerapetritis and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Al. Papadopoulou (who also had communication with Tel Aviv) decided to change the position of abstention that it had kept in the previous vote and support the resolution while expressing reservations. Thus, Greece supported the two amendments and co-sponsored them following the UN process, thus showing its position for explicit condemnation of Hamas.

But beyond that, after the vote, the Greek Permanent Representative took the floor for the so-called explanation of vote, where he quoted the Greek positions and the spirit with which Greece voted in favour of the resolution.

According to reports, Greece expressed its regret that the resolution does not condemn the attack by Hamas and does not mention that the hostages were kidnapped and held by Hamas, and points to the position of principle that Israel has the right to defend itself, respecting at the same time International Humanitarian Law. With its intervention, Athens expressed its deep concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza and prioritised dealing with the humanitarian crisis through "humanitarian pauses" while pointing out that the Palestinians must remain in Gaza and avoid their forced displacement.

The situation taking shape in Gaza causes serious concerns both for the significant civilian casualties and the destruction of infrastructure, but also for the fact that the outlook for the next day in Gaza is not visible, an issue that, as Israeli Prime Minister M. Netanyahu admitted, exists disagreement with the USA. At the same time, there are already vital signs of a decline in international support for Israel's war against Hamas.

The countries that voted against the resolution are the USA, Israel, Austria, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay.

In the vote for the resolution of October 27, 120 countries voted in favour, 14 against and 45 abstained.

The countries that changed their position and, in yesterday's anti-abstention resolution, voted in favour are Albania, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, India, Iraq, Japan, Latvia, Monaco, North Macedonia, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, Moldova, San Marino, Serbia, Sweden, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Zambia.

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