Sat, Dec 08, 2018 - Page 6 News List

US fails in UN bid to condemn Hamas movement

AFP, UNITED NATIONS

A resolution championed by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to condemn the Palestinian Hamas movement at the UN for firing rockets at Israel on Thursday failed to win enough votes for adoption.

The proposed measure won 87 votes in the UN General Assembly, falling short of the required two-thirds majority. Fifty-eight countries opposed the measure and 32 abstained.

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, Haley said that 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 US President 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 United Nations represents a slap to the US administration and confirmation of the legitimacy of the resistance,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri said on Twitter.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said that a decision to condemn Hamas had been “hijacked” by procedural votes and hailed the “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 endorsed by a vote of 75 in favor, including EU countries, 72 against and 26 abstentions.

The US had won crucial backing from the EU, with all 28 countries supporting the US 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, Nauru and the Marshall Islands voted against that measure.

The vote took place as Haley prepares to step away from public life at the end of the year, even as polls show she remains one of the most popular members of Trump’s Cabinet.

Ahead of the vote, Haley sent a letter to all UN missions saying that “the United States takes the outcome of this vote very seriously.”

“She would like to go out with something,” a council diplomat of the US-drafted resolution said.

The defeat came as the US prepares to unveil long-awaited peace proposals, possibly in the first months of next year.

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