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UPDATING LIVE: General Assembly to hold emergency session on Israel-Palestine crisis

9 May 2024
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UPDATING LIVE: General Assembly to hold emergency session on Israel-Palestine crisis



Peace and Security


The UN General Assembly is set to convene again at 10:00 AM New York time for an emergency special session on the Gaza crisis with the fate hundreds of thousands of civilians in Rafah hanging in the balance as Israeli forces continue their advance on the southern city.

10:17 AM

Middle East on course for 'full-scale catastrophe' warns Francis

Mr. Francis said from the podium of the Assembly Hall that the Israel-Palestine crisis was the original crisis before the world body when it was founded.

Peace has remained elusive and today has become an untenable situation that is deteriorating 'at an alarming speed' he told delegates.

10:14 AM

He's inviting the Assembly to recognize the fact that some members are in arrears with their mandatory contributions. If you don't pay up, you lose your vote. Those are the rules. But there are exceptions that have been made, including today. 

10:12 AM

The President of the General Assembly Dennis Francis has just gavelled in the resumed session on the Gaza crisis.

09:55 AM

Aid operations have come to a standstill since the start of the military’s ground operation in Rafah, with an estimated 100,000 Palestinians displaced once again, in a highly fluid situation, according to humanitarians.

The Assembly is also expected to vote on a draft resolution, co-sponsored by a group of countries, concerning the status of the Observer State of Palestine at the United Nations.

The draft resolution follows the veto cast by United States at the Security Council on 18 April, which blocked Palestine’s admission as a full UN Member State. That draft resolution, submitted by non-permanent member Algeria, had received twelve votes in favour, with Switzerland and the United Kingdom abstaining.

Draft resolution on Palestine

The draft resolution expected to be put to a vote at the 193-member General Assembly, where no nations have veto power, and is expected to “recommend” that the Security Council reconsider the matter of Palestine’s membership favourably in line with Article 4 of the UN Charter concerning membership and the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1948.

A revised version of the draft resolution, as of Thursday evening in New York, also includes an Annex, which on an exceptional basis and without setting a precedent, lists significant changes to the State of Palestine’s status in General Assembly meetings and conferences, including its order in the list of speakers and seating arrangements.

These would not just be of symbolic importance but signal a shift in Palestine’s diplomatic heft within the entire UN system. That said, General Assembly will not grant Palestinian membership in the UN, since this requires a recommendation from the Security Council.

No voting rights

It also notes that as an Observer State, Palestine does not have the right to vote in the General Assembly or to put forward its candidature to UN organs such as the Security Council or the Economic and Social Council.

If adopted, the modalities would only apply from the start of the 79th session of the General Assembly, which gets underway in mid-September 2024.

Draft resolutions do not represent the official position of the General Assembly until they are formally adopted.

Once the resolution is voted on the whole issue of Palestine’s status will return to the Security Council for further consideration where any effort to attain full membership it is likely to be blocked again by permanent member, the US.

The majority of the General Assembly will have had their say however, amid the continuing crisis.

Tenth Emergency Special Session

The meeting is the continuation of the tenth Emergency Special Session (tenth ESS), which last convened on 12 December 2023, against the backdrop of a worsening crisis in Gaza.  

At that meeting in a resolution passed overwhelmingly, the Assembly demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

The Assembly also decided to adjourn the session temporarily and authorized the President of the General Assembly to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.

The tenth ESS convened for the first time in April 1997, following a request from Qatar. It followed a series of Security Council and General Assembly meetings regarding the Israeli decision to build a large housing project in an area of East Jerusalem.




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