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U.N. General Assembly condemns Israeli violence against Palestinians

14 June 2018

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza border protests since March 30. The overwhelming majority of the dead and wounded have been unarmed, according to Gaza health officials. Israel accuses Hamas of trying to carry out attacks and damage the border fence under the guise of the protests.

"By supporting this resolution you are colluding with a terrorist organisation, by supporting this resolution you are empowering Hamas", Israel's United Nations ambassador Danny Danon told the General Assembly before the vote.

It further called "for the consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population", pointing particularly to Gaza, where more than 127 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more wounded by Israeli military fire during recent mass demonstrations.

In the General Assembly, the confrontation over Gaza, reflecting decades-old divisions between Israel and the Palestinians, played out with a few new twists. "It makes not one mention of the Hamas terrorists who routinely initiate the violence in Gaza", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the General Assembly before the vote. He said it also undermined reconciliation efforts between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah as well as the "remote prospects" of reviving peace negotiations with Israel.

US ambassador Nikki Haley attempted to include an amendment that would have condemned Hamas, which failed after several procedural votes.

Canada's ambassador Marc-André Blanchard spoke - in addition to Haley - in favor of the US amendment before the vote.

"No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has", Haley said at a May 15 U.N. Security Council meeting. The amendment will then be put to a vote followed by the resolution, he said. The U.S. narrowly lost that vote 66-73 with 26 abstentions.

It was adopted with 120 votes in favor and eight votes against, with 45 abstentions.

The United Nations General Assembly votes to adopt a draft resolution to deplore the use of excessive force by Israeli troops against Palestinian civilians at U.N. headquarters in NY, U.S., June 13, 2018.

The permanent observer of the Palestinian mission to the United Nations, ambassador Riyad Mansour said that the USA amendment was offered in "bad faith" and said that the "illegal, belligerent, military occupation is the primary source and root cause of the recurrent and emergent crises we face".

Prior to voting on the full text, the assembly voted on a USA amendment to condemn Hamas.

Israel has said the humanitarian situation will not improve until Hamas returns the bodies of two IDF soldiers and the two civilian captives it holds.

"This was a badge of shame for the U.N.", Danon said. He said he will discuss the Gaza situation with U.S. envoys Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman when they arrive in Israel next week to discuss the "ways to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab world in general".

"We are asking for a simple thing", Mansour told the assembly. He called the US amendment a "bad-faith attempt" to shift the focus away from "the core objective of protecting civilians and upholding worldwide law".

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour dismissed the U.S. amendments blaming Hamas as "games and gimmicks" and urged ambassadors not to be "fooled" by the USA proposal. "Is that a crime to ask for?" he said.

U.N. General Assembly condemns Israeli violence against Palestinians