Pro-Palestinian demonstrators display signs during a protest Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Mansfield, Mass., held to call for a cease-fire in the war in Gaza. AP
Egypt and Mauritania called for the meeting in their capacities as chairs of the 22-member Arab Group and 57-member Organization for Islamic Cooperation, respectively.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, told the Associated Press that the draft resolution is similar to the Security Council resolution the United States vetoed on Friday.
Mansour said 103 countries cosponsored the resolution and he is hoping for more cosponsors and a high vote for the General Assembly resolution when it is put to a vote.
A draft of the text seen by AFP expresses "grave concern over the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip."
It calls for "an immediate humanitarian ceasefire" as well as the "immediate and unconditional release of all captives."
There are no vetoes in the General Assembly, but unlike the Security Council, its resolutions are not legally binding. They are important nonetheless as a barometer of global opinion.
On Friday, the United States blocked the ceasefire resolution in the Security Council that came after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called an emergency meeting of the body, invoking the rarely-used Article 99 of the UN Charter to bring to the council's attention "any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."
The body's "authority and credibility" have been "severely undermined" by its delayed response to the war, Guterres said afterwards.
At the end of October, in another of its resolutions, the General Assembly called for an "immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities" in Gaza.
Two weeks later the Security Council broke its silence on the war for the first time by calling for "extended pauses and humanitarian corridors" – using less clear language than a ceasefire or a truce.