Apr 5, 2024 - World

UN Human Rights Council calls for halt of arms transfers to Israel

session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland

A session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on March 20. Photo: Lian Yi/Xinhua via Getty Images

The UN Human Rights Council on Friday approved a resolution calling on countries to halt the transfer and sale of weapons to Israel.

Why it matters: The resolution, while non-binding, ratchets up international pressure on Israel amid rising concerns over the humanitarian toll of its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Driving the news: The resolution "called upon all States to cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel," per a UN press release.

  • The Human Rights Council approved the measure by a vote of 28-6 in favor, with 13 countries abstaining.
  • The U.S. voted against the resolution.

The big picture: Israel's killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers this week prompted an international backlash and renewed scrutiny of Israel's actions in Gaza.

  • President Biden, who has been criticized for maintaining U.S. weapons transfers to Israel during the war, called for an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza in the aftermath of the aid workers' deaths.
  • Biden also warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that future U.S. policy would depend on Israel meeting demands around protecting aid workers and addressing the humanitarian crisis in the enclave.
  • A number of Congressional Democrats are circulating a draft letter calling on Biden to halt weapons transfers to Israel.

Go deeper: Tide turns sharply against Israel's war in Gaza

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