Published: Thu, June 14, 2018

Palestinians urge UN to condemn Israel over Gaza

Palestinians urge UN to condemn Israel over Gaza

Since near-weekly mass protests began March 30 along the Israel-Gaze border, more than 120 Palestinians have been killed and over 3,800 wounded by Israeli army fire.

The UN General Assembly condemned Israel on Wednesday for excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians and asked UN chief Antonio Guterres to recommend an "international protection mechanism" for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

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

The General Assembly last held a similarly contentious vote on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in December, when it rejected President Donald Trump´s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel´s capital and move the U.S. embassy there.

"It is despicable for any country to even consider to vote for a resolution condemning Israel while refusing to support the condemnation of Hamas".

The resolution put forward by Turkey and Algeria rejects USA call to condemn Hamas for attacks on Israel.

Before the vote, the USA ambassador Nikki Haley said there were "no ideal actors" on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also seeks recommendations to protect Palestinian civilians.

Haley said the amendment "is not controversial" and simply condemns "behavior we should all recognize as harmful to the Palestinian people".

When the voting tally on the original resolution produced the more familiar United Nations split of 120 in favor, 8 against, and 45 abstentions, there was relieved applause from the Palestinian delegation.

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.


"We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side", Haley said.

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and his father-in-law President Donald Trump's Middle East peace team will travel to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia next week to address the ongoing conflict in Gaza, a US national security official said.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour urged the assembly before the vote to address the escalating violence in Gaza and "the crisis" of protecting civilians.

"We need action. We need protection for our civilian population. Is that a crime to ask for?".

USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley listens during a Security Council meeting concerning the situation in the Middle East involving Israel and Palestine, at United Nations headquarters, December 18, 2017 in New York City.

"We can not remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people", Mansour said.

Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Togo joined Israel and the United States in voting against the resolution.

The resolution deplores "any excessive use of force" by Israeli forces, particularly in Gaza, and demands that Israel "refrain from such actions".

Clashes along Israel's border with Gaza have escalated significantly in recent months, following United States recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital which infuriated Palestinians, who share claims to the city.

General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but carry political weight.

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