U.S. fails to condemn Hamas at UN General Assembly

Blanche Robertson
December 7, 2018

Palestinians raise national flags and banners during a demonstration against an upcoming UN General Assembly vote on a US-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinian Hamas movement in the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 6, 2018.

The vote at the assembly took place as Haley prepares to step away from public life even as polls show she remains one of the most popular members of President Donald Trump's cabinet.

It was the first proposed resolution condemning Hamas to be presented to the 193-nation assembly, which has been meeting since 1946.

The 193-member UNGA voted 87-57 in favor of the resolution Thursday while 33 members chose to abstain, leaving Washington with a plurality vote that fell short of the two-thirds requirement to adopt the resolution. "While it did not achieve a two-thirds majority, this is the first time that a majority of countries have voted against Hamas and I commend each of the 87 countries that took a principled stand against Hamas".

"Hamas calls on all states that stood with the American administration and the Israeli occupation in the United Nations to review their positions and correct their historic and risky mistake", the terror group said on its official website.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's released a statement following the vote praising the countries that did vote to condemn Hamas despite the resolution's failure.

The U.S. attempt to condemn Hamas and demand that the militant group stop firing rockets into Israel, using "airborne incendiary devices" and putting civilians at risk sparked a Palestinian-backed amendment sponsored by Bolivia.

The amendment outlined the basis for comprehensive 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 global law.

Iran's Deputy UN Ambassador Eshagh al-Habib said the U.S. was trying to deflect attention away from the root causes of the conflict.

Haley wrote to ambassadors this week urging them to vote for the resolution, noting that every year the General Assembly adopts more than a dozen resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but "not one of these resolutions ever mentions Hamas or other militant groups in Gaza".

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In December 2017, the United Nations body voted in favor a resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Hamas and the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership hailed the failure of a US-sponsored resolution condemning the Gaza-based terror group Thursday, calling it a "slap" against the Trump administration.

This is a very important achievement for the USA and Israel.

The rival resolutions reflect the deep divisions among the 193 United Nations member states over the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and the failure to end it.

The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

"The resolution proposed by the United States would right a historic wrong", Haley told the assembly ahead of the vote. In a speech to the chamber, she noted that, despite the many resolutions condemning and criticizing Israel, the United Nations has never passed a resolution condemning Hamas.

In a statement early Friday, Hamas thanked the states that voted against the resolution and rebuked those who voted in favor.

The United States changed its initial draft resolution to get backing from the 28-nation European Union, adding that it supports a comprehensive peace agreement "bearing in mind relevant United Nations resolutions".

After talks with the Europeans late Wednesday, the Palestinians agreed to withdraw their amendment and instead bring up a separate resolution, diplomats said.

The resolution also reaffirmed "unwavering support" for a two-state solution along "the pre-1967 borders".

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