Israel's Netanyahu hails UN Hamas vote despite defeat

Frederick Owens
December 7, 2018

The United Nations General Assembly has rejected a United States-sponsored resolution seeking to condemn Hamas, the Palestinian group administering the besieged Gaza Strip.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose defense of Israel has been a signature calling during her almost two-year run, had lobbied hard for European countries and others to join with Washington in condemning Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and for "inciting violence", putting civilians at risk.

In the end, 87 countries voted in favor, but was not enough to meet the two-thirds requirement, so the proposal failed.

The vote ultimately failed to cross the higher threshold, with 87 nations voting in favor and 57 voting against.

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 European Union countries, 72 against and 26 abstentions.

It also reaffirmed "unwavering support" for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - issues that were not included in the U.S. draft.

"Before the General Assembly can credibly advocate compromise and reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israel, it must on record, unambiguously and unconditionally, condemn Hamas terrorism", Haley told the body before the vote.

"The United States takes the outcome of this vote very seriously", wrote Haley, who repeatedly has said the administration will "take names" of any countries voting against USA foreign policy.

The vote was a personal defeat for Haley in what is likely to be one of her final major actions as the US envoy.

"There is nothing more anti-Semitic than saying we can not condemn terrorism against Israel, while we would not hesitate for one minute to condemn the same acts if they were taken against any other country..."

Saudi Arabia's UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, reflecting the Arab view, said the USA resolution would "undermine the two-state solution which we aspire to". He said all resolutions put forth by the Palestinians seek balance, and he thanked countries that did not follow the USA call to condemn Hamas.

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The results of a vote are seen on display boards at the General Assembly hall, on December 21, 2017, at UN Headquarters in NY.

A number of States explained their reasons for voting against the resolution.

Bahr then congratulated Palestinians and Hamas resistance movement for the great victory on the worldwide level, calling on people from all strata of the Palestinian society to unite, end division and vigorously support resistance movements.

When Hamas eventually took control, Israel responded by enforcing a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza and banning its residents from working in Israel.

Danon said he has had discussions with some of the Arab ambassadors in the United Nations, and they are unhappy with the support Hamas is getting from Tehran, and the fact that the PA is cooperating with Iran, seen by some of these countries - such as Saudi Arabia - as their mortal enemy.

Both Israel and the United States exerted considerable effort to convince Arab states to join in a straightforward condemnation of Hamas, calling a denouncement of terrorism a basic building block for peace talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately thanked Israel's friends in the United Nations General Assembly in a statement Thursday night.

The United States put forward the resolution as it prepares to unveil new peace proposals that the Palestinians have already rejected.

Haley called condemnation of Hamas "an essential step" to a peace settlement.

The United States and Israel voted against the resolution in addition to Australia, Liberia, Marshall Islands, and Nauru.

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