US fails to secure anti-Hamas resolution

28th Dec 2018
US fails to secure anti-Hamas resolution

(Photo: Wiki Common)

Elham Asaad Buaras

A US-sponsored draft resolution condemning Hamas has failed to win the required majority in the UN General Assembly on December 6.

Before the vote on the resolution, the UN had narrowly voted to require a two-thirds majority for approval as sought by Arab nations for rather than the simple majority urged by the US.

The European Union agreed the bloc’s 28 countries would back the measure after the US changed its draft resolution adding that it supports a comprehensive peace agreement “bearing in mind relevant United Nations resolutions.”

But the vote on the resolution to condemn Hamas was 87 in favour against 57 opposed, with 33 abstentions but below the two-thirds requirement to adopt it. Among those to vote against the measure were China and Russia, while India abstained, despite forging warmer ties with Israel.

The resolution that was voted on omitted reference to any Israeli actions against the Palestinians or numerous violations of countless UN resolutions by Israel in the past; it also failed to refer to a two-state solution which some countries considered lop-sided.

All the Arab countries voted against the resolution, despite a concentrated effort by the US President, Donald Trump Administration in recent days to ensure their support.

Even Arab countries that have reportedly warmed up to Israel recently, such as Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman, voted against denouncing Hamas on the world stage. The same was true for Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan.

A number of States explained their reasons for voting against the resolution.
The Saudi Arabian representative stated that, since 1967, Israel has not respected any General Assembly or Security Council resolutions, whilst Kuwait and Iran’s representatives said that the resolution “ignores” and “deflects attention from” the root causes of the conflict.

Mansour al-Otaibi, the Permanent Representative of Kuwait to the UN, said if the Israeli “occupation” of the Palestinians would end, this resolution would not be necessary.

Nato member Turkey also voted against the resolution. Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, promised Hamas Leader, Ismail Haniyeh, that Turkey would do everything it could to stop its passage. Çavuşoğlu vowed that his country would “remain alongside the rights of Palestine and Palestinians and that its position is constant on the Palestinian Cause.”

Addressing the General Assembly before the vote, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the vote could make history and unconditionally speak out against Hamas, which she called “one of the most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world.”

Hamas thanked UN member states “that stood by our people’s resistance and the justice of their cause” and attacked Haley who he said, “is known for her extremism and her positions that support the Zionist terrorism in Palestine.”

Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, also welcomed the resolution’s defeat saying: “The Palestinian Presidency will not allow for the condemnation of the national Palestinian struggle.”

By contrast, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, praised the “large majority” 87 countries “that took a stance against Hamas” for the first time, calling it “an important achievement for the United States and Israel.”

The US attempt to condemn Hamas and demand that the group stop firing rockets into Israel using “airborne incendiary devices” and putting civilians at risk sparked a Palestinian-backed amendment sponsored by Bolivia. It outlined the basis for all-inclusive Israeli-Palestinian peace and referred to a December 2016 Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation” of international law. It also reaffirmed “unwavering support” for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – issues not included in the US draft.

But before the vote on the US draft resolution, Bolivian Ambassador, Sasha Llorentty Soliz, withdrew the amendment. That was because the Palestinians and their supporters wanted a vote instead on a short rival resolution entitled “Comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East” sponsored by Ireland that included the exact language of the amendment – but no mention of Hamas.

After the US draft on Hamas failed to win adoption, the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the Irish resolution by a vote of 156-6, with 12 abstentions.

It calls for “the achievement, without delay” of lasting Mideast peace on the basis of UN resolutions, singling out the December 2016 measure. And it reaffirms “unwavering support … for the two-state solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognised borders, based on the pre-1967 borders.”

The rival resolutions reflect the deep divisions among the 193 UN member states over the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and the failure to end it. Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, reflecting the Arab view, said the US resolution would “undermine the two-state solution which we aspire to.” 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.

US Palestinian relations have strained since last year when US President, Donald Trump, unilaterally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, triggering world outcry. Since Trump’s controversial Jerusalem move, the Palestinian Authority has rejected any US mediation in the Middle East peace process.

Abstain
Afghanistan
Angola
Armenia
Barbados
Bhutan
Burkina Faso
Cameroon
Côte D’Ivoire
Ecuador
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Ghana
Grenada
Guinea Bissau
Guyana
India
Kenya
Mongolia
Nepal
Philippines
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Timor-Leste
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Uganda
Tanzania
Vanuatu

Favour
Albania
Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Belgium
Belize
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cabo Verde
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Eritrea
Estonia
Fiji
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kiribati
Latvia
Lesotho
Liberia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malawi
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Montenegro
Nauru
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Republic of Korea
Republic of Moldova
Romania
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
San Marino
Serbia
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Sudan
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Tuvalu
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States of America
Uruguay

Against
Algeria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Bolivia
Botswana
Brunei Darussalam
China
Comoros
Congo
Cuba
Djibouti
Egypt
Gambia
Guinea
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kuwait
Lao
Lebanon
Libya
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Oman
Pakistan
Qatar
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Somalia
South Africa
Sudan
Suriname
Syria
Tunisia
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

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