Saturday, 15 December, 2018

United Nations rejects USA bid to condemn Palestinian group Hamas

Scott Morrison Scott Morrison
Ellis Copeland | 07 December, 2018, 22:05

The U.N. General Assembly voted on Thursday against a resolution sponsored by US ambassador Nikki Haley to condemn the Palestinian Hamas group as a terrorist organization.

The United States had won crucial backing from the European Union, with all 28 countries supporting the U.S. measure that would have condemned Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and demanded an end to the violence.

The Assembly voted 87 in favor, 57 against, and 33 abstaining, to condemn the Palestinian faction dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

The two-thirds majority that prevented passage of the resolution was advanced by Kuwait on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and approved by a 75-72 vote with 26 abstentions.

Hamas said the failure to pass the resolution was "a serious failure for the "bullying policy" of the Trump administration adopted in the region".

"What the United Nations chooses to do today will speak volumes about each country's seriousness when it comes to condemning anti-Semitism", Haley said.

"Israel is in contravention of all Security Council and General Assembly resolutions", its representative said.

Had it passed, the resolution would have marked a major achievement for Haley, who departs from her role as United Nations ambassador in January and has made calling out anti-Israel bias one of the central goals of her time at the United Nations.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

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The overwhelming support for the Irish resolution reflects global support for action "without delay" toward an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a two-state solution.

"The General Assembly has never said anything - not one thing - about Hamas, even when we all agree Hamas' behavior undermines any prospects for peace".

She also posed the question of the resolution in stark terms: "The question before us now is whether the United Nations thinks terrorism is acceptable if, and only if, it is directed against Israel". Isn't it time to let that go?

If adopted, it would mark the first time the assembly has taken aim at Hamas, the Islamist militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Both Israel and the United States exerted considerable effort to convince Arab states to join in a straightforward condemnation of Hamas, calling a denouncement of terrorism a basic building block for peace talks.

Following the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded the "sweeping majority" of countries who voted for the draft condemnation.

"You should be ashamed of yourselves, wait until you have to deal with terrorism in your own countries", Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon told the chamber.

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. And he said it would also turn attention away from Israel's occupation, settlement activities and "blockade" - whether in Gaza, the West Bank or east Jerusalem which the Palestinians want as their future capital.

Haniyeh, in a statement released on Friday, said the majority of world countries stood with Palestinian rights, including the right of our people to resist the Tel Aviv regime's occupation and salvation from it, against a resolution that sought to denounce the legitimate resistance of the Palestinian nation.

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