Israel votes for UNGA resolution demanding Russia ends Ukraine war

Israel was among 140 countries that voted in support of a resolution demanding an end to the Russia-Ukraine war and calling for civilian protection.

 Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan speaks at the United Nations General Assembly as it discussed a resolution denouncing Holocaust denial, on January 20, 2022. (photo credit: COURTESY UN)
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan speaks at the United Nations General Assembly as it discussed a resolution denouncing Holocaust denial, on January 20, 2022.
(photo credit: COURTESY UN)

Israel was among 140 countries supporting a UN General Assembly resolution on Thursday demanding an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine and calling for civilian protection.

It was also among over 70 countries to endorse the text, the second such resolution approved by the GA since the start of the war on February 24. Israel also supported and helped sponsor that first text, which was approved with 141 votes.

Five countries voted against – Russia, Syria, North Korea, Eritrea and Belarus – and 38 countries abstained.

Israel, which spoke in support of its vote at the UNGA was represented by deputy ambassador Noa Furman rather than by ambassador Gilad Erdan. the absence of the top envoy is sometimes a diplomatic attempt to downgrade the significance of the message.

After the vote, Furman told the UNGA that Israel reiterates its call for de-escalation and dialogue, in view of our positive relations with both parties.

 Smoke rises after shelling near Kyiv, Ukraine March 17, 2022. (credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS) Smoke rises after shelling near Kyiv, Ukraine March 17, 2022. (credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)

"We are assisting in the mediation efforts to stop this tragic war," she said. 

"We have normative historical and ethical obligations to be part of the humanitarian efforts" and have sent a field hospital called shinning star and 100 tons of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Furman added.

"Israel hopes to light the path of refugees in need of medical care. we will extend a helping hand to them as has always been the state of Israel's custom in such a humanitarian crisis," Furman said.

Countries have turned to the GA, given that Russia has used its veto power to block any such resolutions from passing the Security Council.

“The world has spoken,” Sweden’s mission to the UN tweeted after the vote.

Iran, which abstained on the vote, said it supported the need for humanitarian assistance and wanted an end to the war, but did not agree with all the provisions of the text.

The US has spoken vocally in support of the resolution, which was submitted by Ukraine.

“Today is an important moment for the world to stand together in the face of unconscionable violence that has taken a grave humanitarian toll,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the assembly during a debate held on Wednesday prior to the vote. “In front of us, we have a resolution proposed by Ukraine that has a response to this humanitarian catastrophe. An abstention in the face of Russia’s atrocities is unacceptable. Russia must be held accountable for the humanitarian crisis it is creating.

“By voting for this resolution, you are voting for an end to the war, respect for and protection of humanitarian and medical personnel, and unhindered humanitarian access. You are voting for civilians to be allowed to safely flee the violence, including many of your own citizens who are working, living, and studying in Ukraine.”

“Today is an important moment for the world to stand together in the face of unconscionable violence that has taken a grave humanitarian toll,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the assembly during a debate held on Wednesday prior to the vote. “In front of us, we have a resolution proposed by Ukraine that has a response to this humanitarian catastrophe. An abstention in the face of Russia’s atrocities is unacceptable. Russia must be held accountable for the humanitarian crisis it is creating.

“By voting for this resolution, you are voting for an end to the war, respect for and protection of humanitarian and medical personnel, and unhindered humanitarian access. You are voting for civilians to be allowed to safely flee the violence, including many of your own citizens who are working, living, and studying in Ukraine.”