The Fiji Government has said that its decision to vote against a UN resolution proposing a humanitarian truce for Gaza stemmed from the resolution’s omission of an explicit condemnation of Hamas for the October 7 attacks.
Fiji, alongside the United States and 12 other nations, including five PICs being the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga, supported Israel’s right to defend itself and counter Hamas, a group it considers a terrorist organisation.
In a statement, the Fiji Government reaffirmed its support for Israel stating that it had endorsed an amendment by Canada, proposed prior to the voting on the resolution, which identified and condemned Hamas for initiating the crisis and using civilians as human shields since October 7. The amendment was defeated after it did not garner the required votes.
The vote drew mixed reactions within Fiji, with some believing it was necessary to advocate against all acts of terror while others criticising the stance including the National Federation Party, one of the parties in the Coalition Fiji Government, and the opposition FijiFirst party.
In a statement, the NFP highlighted the inhumane treatment of civilians and children in Gaza caught in the conflict, pointing out that Fiji also had the option of abstaining, but did not.
“We strongly disagree with Fiji’s stance in the UN on an issue that has spiraled out of control and is resulting in the killing of civilians and children. Any nation has the right to defend itself against terrorism, Israel is no exception. But it must not result in inhumane treatment by both Israel or Hamas of civilians and children or denial of essential supplies like food, water and medicine.”
FijiFirst MP Premila Kumar described the vote as a “lack of empathy for the civilians affected by the conflict” likening its vote to “promoting war” stating that “while individual nations can have varying perspectives on international matters, the UN resolution in question was primarily about humanitarian support rather than aligning with one or other side of the conflict.”
The government however remained resolute insisting that addressing all aspects of the situation, including identifying and condemning Hamas for the October 7 attacks, is crucial for achieving lasting peace.
“Fiji’s intent in voting for the amendment was to advocate against all acts of terror and show support for the hostages and innocent civilians,” the statement said. “While the resolution does call for the immediate release of all hostages, and condemns all acts of terrorism and indiscriminate attacks, including those against Israeli civilians, it fails to explicitly name Hamas.
“These facts are essential to understanding the reality of the situation that will inform the next steps in seeking a meaningful solution. The final UN resolution did not mention these facts hence Fiji voted against it. Addressing all aspects of the situation is crucial to achieving lasting peace. If the actions of Hamas are not unequivocally denounced in the resolution, the attainment of lasting peace remains in jeopardy.”
It added that Israel’s primary target is Hamas and not the Palestinian population.
Of the other Pacific Island countries, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Palau, and Australia chose not to vote or abstained alongside 40 other countries whilst the Solomon Islands and New Zealand were among 120 countries that voted for the truce which was subsequently adopted based on a majority vote.