Australia Explains Why Abstained From Gaza Truce Vote

Statement by H.E. Mr James Larsen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

First, Australia expresses deep appreciation for Jordan’s leadership and sincere efforts in bringing forward Resolution L.25.

We agree with the central proposition, that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire and human suffering is widespread and unacceptable.

Australia again calls for humanitarian pauses on hostilities, so that food, water, medicine and other essential assistance can reach people in desperate need, and so that civilians can get to safety.

However, we abstained with disappointment because we believe this resolution as drafted was incomplete.

The resolution did not recognise terror group Hamas as the perpetrator of the 7 October attack, and Australia again explicitly calls for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages.

Moreover, the UN Charter guarantees national sovereignty.

We believe the General Assembly can affirm Israel’s right to exist, without denying longstanding and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people – including to statehood – aspirations Australia supports.

We can affirm Israel’s right to defend itself, while also saying the way it does so matters.

It matters for innocent civilians, who should not pay for horrors perpetrated by Hamas.

And it matters for Israel’s ongoing security, which would face grave threats if conflict were to spill over across the region.

Aspirations for peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians will recede even further if today’s generations are motivated by grief and resentment resulting from this crisis.

This assembly of nations has no lesser duty than to seek to solve the insoluble and transform despair into hope.

And despite disagreement on this resolution, efforts behind the scenes make clear that most Member States are acting in good faith - and want to chart a path out of this crisis, towards a political process.

That political process must end in a just and enduring peace, in the form of a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live securely and prosperously within internationally recognised borders.

That two-state solution must be the new reality that overcomes entrenched ideologies.

Achieving that reality calls for us to see each other’s humanity. It requires all sides to respect the right of others to exist.

And it will require leadership, understanding and courage from all of us.