NEW YORK/BRUSSELS—Earlier this week, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution deploring Israel’s’’excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians’’ and asking U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres to recommend an “international protection mechanism” for occupied Palestinian territory.
The text adopted “deplores the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip, including the use of live ammunition against civilian protesters, including children, as well as medical personnel and journalists, and expresses its grave concern at the loss of innocent lives.”
It also requests that the Secretary-General, within 60 days, present his “proposals on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation, including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
The General Assembly text condemned the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas, but did not mention Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza. The United States failed in a bid to amend the resolution with a paragraph that would have condemned violence by Hamas, because of the procedural necessity for a two-thirds majority. It is interesting to notice that all 28 EU countries voted for the US amendment.
“By supporting this resolution you are colluding with a terrorist organization, by supporting this resolution you are empowering Hamas,” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon told the General Assembly before the vote.
The resolution, which was put forward by Algeria, Turkey and the Palestinians after the United States vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member U.N. Security Council earlier this month, was adopted by 120 votes in favor, eight against and 45 abstentions.
Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Togo joined Israel and the United States in voting against the resolution.
All but eight African countries voted against Israel, including countries such as Kenya and Uganda. Only Togo voted for Israel, while only South Sudan, Malawi, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Liberia, Ghana and Rwanda abstained.
India also voted against Israel on the final resolution but it voted for Israel against the Algerian move to quash the US amendment, and then abstained on the two other votes.
Switzerland, New Zealand, Iceland and Norway supported the Palestinian call for international protection against Israel, while Canada abstained.
How did the EU countried vote ?
As usual, the EU showed a split regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict : 12 member states voted for the resolution including France, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Slovenia, Malta and Luxembourg, while another 16 abstained including Germany, the United Kingdom, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovakia, Denmark, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands.
The automatic majority at the United Nations General Assembly is not destiny and will eventually be overturned, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Wednesday night after the vote of the resolution.
Danon took heart from the US amendment calling for the condemnation of the Hamas terrorist organization, which received 62 votes to 58 against with 45 abstentions, but was then blocked by Algeria on the grounds that a two thirds majority is needed to pass a vote.
“The hypocrisy of the General Assembly knows no bounds as anti-Israel elements deceitfully blocked the condemnation of Hamas, a murderous terrorist organization. This was a badge of shame for the UN,” said Ambassador Danon. “Thanks to the combined efforts with our American friends and our allies from around the world, we proved today that the automatic majority against Israel in the UN is not destiny and can be changed,” he added.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the votes that Israel is appreciative of the Trump administration’s strong support and for United States’ ambassador the UN, Nikki Haley’s stand against the hypocrisy of the General Assembly.
“The UN’s endless obsession with Israel puts the organization to shame, and diverts attention to other burning issues that require the attention of the international community,” Netanyahu said.
“As for Gaza,” he added, “Hamas is responsible for the difficult situation there, for the loss of life and the for the suffering resulting from the violent demonstrations that it has initiated in recent weeks.”