U.N. cen­sures Is­rael for Gaza vi­o­lence

Mea­sure tasks Guter­res with draft­ing ideas for pro­tec­tion mech­a­nism for Pales­tini­ans

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

UNITED NA­TIONS: The U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly Wed­nes­day adopted by a strong ma­jor­ity of 120 coun­tries an Arab-backed res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing Is­rael for Pales­tinian deaths in Gaza and re­jected a U.S. 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 128 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 Gen­eral As­sem­bly, with eight votes against and 45 ab­sten­tions.

U.S. 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 United States used its veto in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to block the res­o­lu­tion on June 1.

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

The res­o­lu­tion tasks U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res with the draft­ing of pro­pos­als for an “in­ter­na­tional pro­tec­tion mech­a­nism” for the Pales­tini­ans in Gaza and the oc­cu­pied 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 United States has 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 self­de­fense.” He warned am­bas­sadors that 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 United States and Is­rael in vot­ing against the res­o­lu­tion.

The U.S. 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.

“We had more coun­tries on the right side than the wrong side,” Ha­ley said in a state­ment,

The Gen­eral As­sem­bly last held a sim­i­larly con­tentious vote on the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict in De­cem­ber, when it re­jected Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to rec­og­nize Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal and move the U.S. Em­bassy there.

Ha­ley had warned at the time that Wash­ing­ton was “tak­ing names” of coun­tries that sup­ported the res­o­lu­tion. That vote was 128 to nine, with 35 ab­sten­tions.

Backed by Arab coun­tries, the Pales­tini­ans had lob­bied to win as many votes on the Gaza res­o­lu­tion as those cast in sup­port of the mea­sure con­demn­ing the U.S. de­ci­sion on oc­cu­pied Jerusalem.

Is­rael and Ha­mas have fought three wars in Gaza and the United Na­tions has warned that a fourth con­flict could be eas­ily ig­nited. –

Man­sour, third from bot­tom right, passes by Ha­ley (seated) dur­ing the vot­ing to con­demn Is­raeli ac­tions in Gaza.

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