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Australia’s representative to the United Nations has joined a global chorus calling for a ceasefire to the Israel-Gaza war but stopped short of backing a resolution.

In New York on Friday, UN member nations overwhelmingly voted for a “sustained humanitarian truce” in the conflict to allow aid to reach Gazan civilians.

The resolution, brought by Jordan, was backed by 120 countries, while 14 nations voted no and 45 – including Australia – abstained.

Ambassador James Larsen said Australia agrees with the “central proposition” but could not back the resolution without condemning Hamas.

“We abstained with disappointment because we believe this resolution as drafted was incomplete,” he said.

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

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

The resolution, which was met by thunderous applause in the assembly hall, was criticised by the US and Israel.

Israel has vowed to continue ground raids in Gaza in the coming days, after Hamas’ terror attack killed more than 1,400 people.

Air strikes in the enclave have killed more than 7,000 people, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry although this has been disputed by US president Joe Biden.

Mr Larsen told delegates that Australia backs calls for a pause on hostilities to allow food, water and medicine in to address the “widespread and unacceptable” human suffering.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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By Rahul

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