Fri, Jun 15, 2018 - Page 6 News List

UN assembly condemns Israel for Gaza

DECISIVE DECISION:The non-binding resolution that orders the secretary-general to draft protection proposals for Palestinians was supported by 120 members out of 193

AFP, UNITED NATIONS

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday adopted by a strong majority of 120 nations an Arab-backed resolution condemning Israel for Palestinian deaths in Gaza and rejected a US bid to blame Hamas for the violence.

The resolution deplores Israel’s use of “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against Palestinians and calls for protection measures for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

At least 129 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 assembly, with eight votes against and 45 abstentions.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called the resolution “one-sided” and accused Arab nations of trying to score political points.

“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 US that condemned Hamas for “inciting violence” along the border with Gaza failed to garner the two-third majority needed for adoption.

The Arab nations backing the measure turned to the assembly after the US on June 1 used its veto in the UN Security Council to block the resolution.

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

The resolution instructs UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to draft proposals for an “international protection mechanism” for Palestinians in Gaza and the 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 council, where the US has veto power.

“We are asking for a simple thing,” Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said. “We want our civilian population to be protected.”

Turkish Ambassador to the UN 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 to the UN Danny Danon assailed the measure as an “attempt to take away our basic right to self-defense,” saying that by supporting the resolution, the representatives “are empowering Hamas.”

France was among 12 EU nations 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 US and Israel in voting against the resolution.

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

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