UN rejection on Hamas a ‘slap’ for US
Fox anchor set to be new ambassador
YORK: A US resolution championed by ambassador Nikki Haley at the UN to condemn the Palestinian Hamas movement for firing rockets at Israel has failed to win enough votes for adoption.
The proposed measure won 87 votes in the General Assembly, falling short of the required twothirds majority.
Fifty-eight countries opposed the measure and 32 abstained.
Ms Haley, who steps down from her post at the end of the year, has repeatedly accused the UN of having an anti-Israel bias and has defended Israel in its latest confrontation with Hamas, the Islamist militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
It was the first proposed resolution condemning Hamas to be presented to the 193-nation assembly, which has been meeting since 1946.
Speaking ahead of the vote, Ms Haley said the measure “would right a historic wrong” and “put the General Assembly on the side of truth and balance in the effort to achieve peace in the Middle East”.
“The question before us now is whether the UN thinks terrorism is acceptable if, and only if, it is directed against Israel,” she told the assembly.
Hamas praised the outcome of the vote, describing it as a “slap” to Donald Trump’s administration, which has taken a firm pro-Israeli stance in addressing the Middle East peace process.
“The failure of the American venture at the UN represents a slap to the US administration and confirmation of the legitimacy of the resistance,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri wrote on Twitter, using a phrase commonly used to refer to armed groups that oppose Israel.
Israeli ambassador Danny Danon lamented after the vote that a decision to condemn Hamas had been “hijacked” by procedural votes and hailed the
President Donald Trump will nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as US ambassador to the UN, a source familiar with his decision said, selecting someone with no prior policy or political experience to deal with some of the world’s thorniest issues.
The decision could be announced as early as today, the source said.
Ms Nauert, whose nomination would require Senate confirmation, is a former “broad support from the world” for condemning Hamas.
Kuwait had asked the assembly, on behalf of Arab countries, to require a two-thirds majority, which was narrowly Fox News Channel correspondent and anchor.
She became the State Department’s spokeswoman in April 2017 and was named earlier this year as the acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.
If confirmed, Ms Nauert, 48, would succeed Nikki Haley, who said in October she would leave the post at the end of the year.
Ms Nauert, who earlier this year had been considered a possible successor to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, gained experience on diplomacy by working at the State Department, but she lacks the political and policy endorsed by a vote of 75 in favour, including European countries, 72 against and 26 abstentions.
The US had won crucial backing from the EU, with all 28 countries supporting the American credentials of Ms Haley, a former South Carolina governor. Having the direct support of the President and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could buttress her image, however, among diplomats at the UN, who have bristled at Mr Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.
Mr Trump said last month that Ms Nauert was “excellent,” adding, “She’s been a supporter for a long time. The President is weighing a number of other endof-year staff changes, including replacing chief of staff John Kelly, two of Mr Trump’s advisers said yesterday. measure that would have condemned Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and demanded an end to the violence.
The EU, like the US, considers Hamas a terror group.
The assembly also adopted by a wide margin of 156 to six with 12 abstentions a Palestinian-drafted measure, presented by Ireland, calling “for the achievement, without delay, of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East” based on UN resolutions.
The US, Israel, Australia, Liberia, Marshall Islands and Nauru voted against that measure.
The vote at the assembly took place as Ms Haley prepares to step away from public life even as polls show she remains one of the most popular members of Mr Trump’s cabinet.
Ms Haley rattled the UN when she arrived in January last year vowing that the US would be “taking names” of countries that opposed Mr Trump’s foreign policy.
Ahead of the vote, the US ambassador sent a letter to all UN missions to make clear that “the US takes the outcome of this vote very seriously”.
“She would like to go out with something,” said a Security Council diplomat of the US-drafted resolution.
Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are nonbinding, but they carry political weight and are seen as a barometer of world opinion.
The US defeat at the General Assembly came as the Trump administration prepares to unveil long-awaited peace proposals, possibly in the first months of next year.
The Palestinians have severed ties with the Trump administration since the decision a year ago to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and declare the city Israel’s capital.
The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. International consensus has been that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between the two sides.