UN blames Is­rael for Gaza vi­o­lence

The Oklahoman - - NEWS - BY EDITH M. LEDERER As­so­ci­ated Press

UNITED NA­TIONS — The U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly ap­proved a Pales­tinian-backed res­o­lu­tion Wed­nes­day blam­ing Is­rael for vi­o­lence in Gaza and de­plor­ing its “ex­ces­sive use of force,” af­ter nar­rowly re­ject­ing a U.S. de­mand to add a con­dem­na­tion of at­tacks on Is­rael by Gaza’s Ha­mas rulers.

The votes re­flected wide con­cern in the 193-mem­ber world body that the res­o­lu­tion spon­sored by Arab and Is­lamic na­tions was one-sided and failed to even men­tion Ha­mas, which has fired over 100 rock­ets at Is­rael.

Since near-weekly mass protests be­gan March 30 along the Is­rael-Gaze border, more than 120 Pales­tini­ans have been killed and over 3,800 wounded by Is­raeli army fire. The over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of the dead and wounded have been un­armed, ac­cord­ing to Gaza health of­fi­cials.

Is­rael’s use of po­ten­tially lethal force against the protesters has drawn in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism. Is­rael ac­cuses Ha­mas of try­ing to carry out at­tacks and dam­age the border fence un­der the guise of the protests.

Is­raeli Am­bas­sador Danny Danon told the as­sem­bly that Ha­mas is con­duct­ing “a vi­o­lent as­sault on Is­rael” and aims to seize its main cities of Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. “We want to make sure that doesn’t hap­pen,” he said.

For the Pales­tini­ans, the res­o­lu­tion’s key pro­vi­sion is a re­quest to U.N. 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.”

In the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, the con­fronta­tion over Gaza, re­flect­ing decades-old di­vi­sions be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans, played out with a few new twists.

Al­ge­rian Am­bas­sador Sabri Boukadoum, rep­re­sent­ing Arab na­tions, first sought to block a vote on the U.S. amend­ment, say­ing it wasn’t rel­e­vant to the res­o­lu­tion. He said it also un­der­mined rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ef­forts be­tween ri­val Pales­tinian fac­tions Ha­mas and Fatah as well as the “re­mote prospects” of re­viv­ing peace ne­go­ti­a­tions with Is­rael.

His mo­tion to take “no ac­tion” on the amend­ment was de­feated by a vote of 59-78 with 26 ab­sten­tions, al­low­ing the U.S. amend­ment to be put to a vote.

The U.S. amend­ment was ap­proved by a 62-58 vote, with 42 ab­sten­tions. But Gen­eral As­sem­bly Pres­i­dent Miroslav La­j­cak de­clared that un­der an as­sem­bly rule, a twothirds ma­jor­ity was needed so the amend­ment failed.

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