In an unprecedented vote, the UN backed a US amendment denouncing Hamas attacks on Israel but then blocked it on a technicality. However, it was swift to condemn Israel for defending itself.
By: United with Israel Staff
In an unprecedented vote at the United Nations General Assembly, a majority of nations on Wednesday voted in favor of an American amendment to an anti-Israel resolution and condemned Hamas for its attacks on Israel.
As expected, a vast majority of countries, 120 of the 193-member body, supported a Palestinian-backed resolution earlier that day, proposed by Turkey and Algeria, blaming Israel for violence in Gaza and deploring its “excessive use of force” while defending its borders against Hamas-led rioters. Only eight countries sided with Israel.
The amendment, put forward by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, received 62 votes in favor and 58 against, with 42 abstentions. However, it was then blocked by Algeria through a procedural maneuver, and General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak declared that under an Assembly rule, a two-thirds majority was needed.
Haley appealed, citing another rule that says only a majority vote was required. After a short break, Lajcak put the US appeal to a vote. The US narrowly lost that vote 66-73 with 26 abstentions.
“What makes Gaza different is that attacking Israel is their favorite political sport. The resolution is one-sided, makes not one mention of Hamas, which routinely initiates violence,” Haley stated ahead of the anti-Israel vote.
“At what point will the UN hold Hamas accountable for what is happening in Gaza? It is Hamas and its allies who have fired more than 100 rockets into Israel in the last month. Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel in any borders. The resolution fails to mention Hamas. There is still chance for this body to right this wrong. The US is offering an amendment that provides a small step in the direction of balance,” she said.
“In the face of Hamas terrorists routinely inciting violence … today the UN made the morally bankrupt judgment that the recent Gaza violence is all Israel’s fault.
“But the common practice of turning a blind eye to the UN’s anti-Israel bias is changing,” she added. “Today, a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the US-led effort to address Hamas’ responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza.”
The resolution’s key provision is a request to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including on “an international protection mechanism.”
All resolutions voted on at the GA are non-binding and, therefore, essentially insignificant. A similar motion presented at the UN Security Council last month was vetoed by the US.
Taking Away Israel’s ‘Basic Right to Self-Defense’
Addressing the Assembly, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon harshly criticized the countries supporting the anti-Israel resolution.
“I am honored to stand here today. I am honored to stand to represent Israel at every UN forum and in any UN hall. I am honored because I would rather speak in this room every single day in defense of my people than give even one eulogy for an Israeli who would lose his life to Hamas terrorists if we let down our guard,” Danon told the delegates.
“This session today is about our right to defend our people. It is the international community’s attempt to take away our basic right to self-defense,” Danon continued.
“The resolution before you today does not protect innocent Palestinians. It does not protect innocent Israelis. It does not condemn, does not even mention, Hamas, the internationally recognized terrorist organization directly responsible the violence in our region. By supporting this resolution, you are colluding with a terrorist organization. By supporting this resolution, you are empowering Hamas,” he charged.
Turning to the sponsors and supporters of the resolution, Danon said, “I have a simple message for those who support this resolution. You are the ammunition for Hamas’s guns. You are the warheads for its missiles.”
Danon concluded by presenting the UN member states with a choice:
“The members of this body are now faced with a decision: will you acknowledge the truth and reject this biased resolution? Or will you support this resolution and side with the terrorists of Hamas. The choice is yours.”
UN’s ‘Badge of Shame’
After the anti-Israel resolution was voted on, Danon stated that “the hypocrisy of the General Assembly knows no bounds as anti-Israel elements deceitfully blocked the condemnation of Hamas, a murderous terrorist organization. This was a badge of shame for the UN.”
Following the stormy UN session, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that “Israel appreciates the Trump administration’s steadfast support for Israel at the United Nations and Ambassador Haley’s strong statement today exposing the hypocrisy of the UN’s bias against Israel.”
“The UN’s incessant focus on Israel not only brings shame to the organization. It also draws attention away from so many other pressing issues that demand the attention of the international community,” he said.
“As for Gaza, Hamas is responsible for the terrible situation there and for the loss of life and suffering that has occurred as a result of the violent riots it has instigated over the last few weeks. Rather than improve the lives of the people of Gaza, Hamas is using the civilian Palestinian population as human shields in its unremitting terror war against Israel,” he added.
Netanyahu further charged that Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas “has only made the humanitarian situation in Gaza worse by reducing payments of salaries to Gaza and by refusing to pay for electricity provided to Gaza.”
Netanyahu: Israel ‘Determined as Ever to Defend Itself’
“While Israel will continue to defend itself and protect the security of its citizens, Israel will continue to seek ways to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Hamas is,” Netanyahu underscored.
He concluded by warning “Palestinians who threaten us” that they “will find an Israel determined as ever to defend itself. Palestinians who reach out to us in peace and friendship will find an outstretched hand in return.”
AP contributed to this report.
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