Vote condemning Hamas for firing rockets into Israel fails at UN
07 December, 2018, 11:09
A U.S. attempt to get the United Nations to condemn violence by Palestinian militant group Hamas for the first time failed on Thursday because the draft resolution fell short of votes needed in the General Assembly.
The resolution - which required a two-thirds majority to be successful - was voted down on Thursday afternoon, with 87 states voting for it, 57 against, and 33 abstentions.
U.S. Ambassador to the United NationsNikki Haley accused the Arab countries behind adopting the two-thirds majority procedural rule of "double standards" and condemned the UN's failure to respond to terrorist acts against Israel.
Earlier this week, Hamas Politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh had appealed to Arab leaders and UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres in an effort to thwart the draft resolution. "Because there is nothing more anti-Semitic than saying terrorism is not terrorism when it's used against the Jewish people and the Jewish state".
The vote to require a two-thirds majority was close, 75-72, with 26 abstentions and several countries changing their votes to "yes" at the last minute. Less than a month ago, Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into southern Israel, striking a bus.
"This is a very important achievement for the USA and Israel", Netanyahu said.
The United States had won crucial backing from the European Union, with all 28 countries supporting the USA measure that would have condemned Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and demands an end to the violence.
"She would like to go out with something", said a Security Council diplomat of the US -drafted resolution. "Over 700 resolutions condemning Israel, and not one single resolution condemning Hamas".
Haley said that, in an average year, the UN General Assembly votes on a resolution opposing Israel twenty times.
That was because the Palestinians and their supporters wanted a vote instead on a short rival resolution entitled "Comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East" sponsored by Ireland that included the exact language of the amendment - but no mention of Hamas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's released a statement following the vote praising the countries that did vote to condemn Hamas despite the resolution's failure.
It calls for "the achievement, without delay" of lasting Mideast peace on the basis of United Nations resolutions, singling out the December 2016 measure. Global consensus has been that Jerusalem's status must be negotiated between the two sides.
The two rival resolutions reflect the deep divisions among the 193 United Nations member states over the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the failure to end it.
"We thank the United States, we thank Ambassador Haley for her strong support", he further added. And he said it would also turn attention away from Israel's occupation, settlement activities and "blockade" - whether in Gaza, the West Bank or east Jerusalem which the Palestinians want as their future capital.
Haley, who will resign from her post by the end of the year, has been a fierce opponent of Palestinian rights, leading the defence of US President Donald Trump's pro-Israel policies on the global stage. "For their sake, the world should speak out against the destruction of Hamas and what it continues to cause", she said.
Despite the failure of the vote to pass, after a last-minute request by Kuwait to require a two-thirds majority, Israeli leaders still feted the wide show of support for their position against the terror group.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon nevertheless hailed the vote as a "historic achievement" - in that a "record number" of countries got behind an anti-Hamas resolution.
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