The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution for urgent and extended pauses in fighting throughout Gaza.
At least 11,500 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli strikes since the escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7. On Israel's side, the death toll is approximately 1,400, according to government figures.
Twelve members – China, France, Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – voted to adopt the resolution, while the United States of America, Russia and the United Kingdom abstained in a Wednesday vote.
Malta had presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for a humanitarian pause in fighting in Gaza, and greater efforts to allow humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave.
The resolution has also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, especially children.
Security Council president Zhang Jun announced on Wednesday evening that the resolution had passed.
Vanessa Frazier, Malta's Permanent Representative to the UN, told the council: "Countless civilians are now suffering…the devastating consequences that armed conflict brings with it."
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the UN, said her country could not vote 'yes' on a text that "did not reaffirm the right of all member states to protect their citizens from attacks."
Resolutions by the UN Security Council are legally binding. The decisions take on a binding quality only as they relate to the prevention or suppression of breaches of peace.