120 countries at UN condemn Israel over Gaza violence

Elias Hubbard
June 14, 2018

The primary resolution was introduced by representatives in Turkey, on behalf of the Islamic Cooperation, and Algeria, on behalf of the Arab League.

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 global protection mechanism". A similar Security Council resolution was vetoed earlier this month by the United States for being "fundamentally imbalanced" and "grossly one-sided", U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said.

The resolution deplores "any excessive use of force" by Israeli forces, particularly in Gaza, and demands that Israel "refrain from such actions".

A USA bid to condemn Hamas, a Palestinian fundamentalist group, for attacks on Israel also received a majority vote in favor - 62-58 with 42 abstaining - but the president of the General Assembly rejected it because it didn't have the required two-thirds majority to pass.

The proposed US amendment would also condemn the diversion of resources in Gaza to building tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to fire rockets and express "grave concern" at the destruction of the Kerem Shalom crossing point to Israel "by actors in Gaza".

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said they "welcome the American amendment condemning the terrorists of Hamas".

General Assembly spokesman Brendan Varma said Wednesday the world body would first hear speeches from member states. After a short break, Lajcak put the USA appeal to a vote.

"No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has", Haley said at a May 15 U.N. Security Council meeting.

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

The permanent observer of the Palestinian mission to the United Nations, ambassador Riyad Mansour said that the USA amendment was offered in "bad faith" and said that the "illegal, belligerent, military occupation is the primary source and root cause of the recurrent and emergent crises we face".

The US amendment condemning Hamas received 62 votes in favor, with 58 against and 42 abstentions.

Kushner and Greenblatt also have laid the blame for violence on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip exclusively on Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza.

Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 124 Palestinian and wounded more than 3,800 others. The overwhelming majority of the dead and wounded have been unarmed, according to Gaza health officials.

In apparent frustration, Haley said "for some, attacking Israel is their favorite political sport".

Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave have been staging week-long protests demanding their right to return to the homes and lands their families were expelled from 70 years ago.

The ICC has conducted a preliminary investigation since 2015 into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, including West Bank settlement construction and war crimes by Israel and Hamas in the 2014 war in Gaza.

The draft General Assembly resolution calls for "immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip". It "deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas", but doesn't say who is doing the firing.

"We can not remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people", said Riyad Mansour, Palestinian envoy to the UN.

"It is about supporting de-escalation on the ground".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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