Coun­tries at UN con­demn Is­rael over Gaza vi­o­lence

The Phnom Penh Post - - WORLD - Ca­role Landry

THE UN Gen­eral Assem­bly onWed­nes­day adopted by a strong ma­jor­ity of 120 coun­tries an Arab-backed res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing Is­rael for Pales­tinian deaths in Gaza and re­jected a US bid to blame Ha­mas for the vi­o­lence.

The res­o­lu­tion de­plores Is­rael’s use of “ex­ces­sive, dis­pro­por­tion­ate and in­dis­crim­i­nate force” against Pales­tinian civil­ians and calls for pro­tec­tion mea­sures for Pales­tini­ans in Gaza and the oc­cu­pied West Bank.

At least 129 Pales­tini­ans have been killed by Is­raeli fire dur­ing protests near the bor­der with Gaza that be­gan at the end of March. No Is­raelis have died.

Pre­sented by Al­ge­ria and Turkey on be­half of Arab and Mus­lim coun­tries, the mea­sure won a de­ci­sive 120 votes in the 193-mem­ber assem­bly, with 8 votes against and 45 ab­sten­tions.

US Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley dis­missed the res­o­lu­tion as “one-sided” and ac­cused Arab coun­tries of try­ing to score po­lit­i­cal points at home by seek­ing to con­demn Is­rael at the United Na­tions.

“For some, at­tack­ing Is­rael is their fa­vorite po­lit­i­cal sport. That’s why we are here to­day,” Ha­ley told the assem­bly.

An amend­ment pre­sented by the United States that con­demned Ha­mas for “in­cit­ing vi­o­lence” along the bor­der with Gaza failed to garner the two-third ma­jor­ity needed for adop­tion.

Arab coun­tries back­ing the mea­sure turned to the Gen­eral Assem­bly af­ter the US used its veto in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to block the res­o­lu­tion on June 1.

Un­like the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, res­o­lu­tions adopted by the assem­bly are non- bind­ing and there is no veto.

The res­o­lu­tion tasks UN Sec­re­tary­Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res with the draft­ing of pro­pos­als for an “in­ter­na­tional pro­tec­tion mech­a­nism” for the Pales­tini­ans in Gaza and the West Bank.

These could range from set­ting up an ob­server mis­sion to a full-blown peace­keep­ing force, but ac­tion on any op­tion would re­quire back­ing from the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, where the UShas veto power.

“We are ask­ing for a sim­ple thing,” Pales­tinian Am­bas­sador Riyad Man­sour told the assem­bly. “We want our civil­ian pop­u­la­tion to be pro­tected.”

Turkey’s Am­bas­sador Feridun Hadi Sinir­li­oglu de­fended the res­o­lu­tion, say­ing it was “about tak­ing sides with in­ter­na­tional law” and show­ing the Pales­tini­ans that the world “does care about their suf­fer­ing.”

Tak­ing the podium, Is­raeli Am­bas­sador Danny Danon as­sailed the mea­sure as an “at­tempt to take away our ba­sic right to self-de­fence”. He warned am­bas­sadors by sup­port­ing the res­o­lu­tion “you are em­pow­er­ing Ha­mas”.

France was among 12 EU coun­tries that backed the res­o­lu­tion, but Bri­tain ab­stained along with Italy, Poland and 13 other EU mem­ber-states. Rus­sia and China voted in fa­vor.

Aus­tralia, the Mar­shall Is­lands, Mi­crone­sia, Nauru, the Solomon Is­lands and Togo joined the US and Is­rael in vot­ing against the res­o­lu­tion.

The US amend­ment con­demn­ing Ha­mas re­ceived 62 votes in fa­vor, with 58 against and 42 ab­sten­tions. The United States sought to chal­lenge the rul­ing re­quir­ing a two-thirds ma­jor­ity for ap­proval but that was de­feated in a sep­a­rate vote.

SAID KHATIB/AFP

Pales­tinian paramedics and pro­test­ers carry away an in­jured demon­stra­tor on a stretcher along the bor­der with Is­rael, east of Khan Yu­nis in the south­ern Gaza Strip on June 8.

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