(CNSNews.com) – It would have been unprecedented: A decision by the U.N. General Assembly to include strong and direct condemnation of Hamas in an Islamic bloc-drafted resolution critical of Israel.
And in New York on Wednesday the United States came closer than ever before to achieving it, when a vote to insert its amendment secured a 62-58 result, with 42 abstentions.
Failing to achieve a two-thirds majority, however, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s amendment was not included when the resolution, sponsored by Turkey, Algeria and the “State of Palestine, came for a vote.
That text, which did not mention Hamas by name, passed by 120 votes to eight, with 45 countries abstaining. Joining the U.S. and Israel in opposing the measure were Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Togo.
“Today the U.N. made the morally bankrupt judgment that the recent Gaza violence is all Israel’s fault,” Haley said afterwards.
Still, pointing to the support her amendment had drawn, she argued that “the common practice of turning a blind eye to the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias is changing.”
“Today, a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the U.S.-led effort to address Hamas’s responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza,” she said. “We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side. By their votes, those countries recognized that peace will only be achieved when realities are recognized, including Israel’s legitimate security interests, and the need to end Hamas’ terrorism.”
Haley’s proposed amendment said the General Assembly “condemns Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence along the boundary fence, thereby putting civilians at risk.”
It further demanded that Hamas “cease all violent activity and provocative actions,” and condemned it for diverting resources, which could have helped the civilian population, to terror activities including rocket launches and the construction of “tunnels to infiltrate Israel.”
Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour called Haley’s action “a bad-faith attempt to insert an amendment that would radically unbalance the text and shift the assembly's focus away from the core objective of protecting civilians and upholding international law.”
Urging support for the amendment, Haley flayed the world body for a “totally one-sided” draft resolution, and accused the countries driving it – calling out Turkey by name – of doing so merely to garner political support at home, rather than to promote peace.
“Such one-sided resolutions at the U.N. do nothing to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Everyone recognizes that,” she said. “But advancing peace is not the goal of this resolution.”
“I suspect even my Turkish friends know the passage of this resolution won’t change anything, but that it looks good for the people back home to think they’re doing something,” Haley continued. “That is pure politics.”
(Turks go to the polls on June 24 in a high-stakes election. Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the helm since 2003, hopes to cement his position – armed with sweeping new powers – for another five year term.)
The resolution adopted Wednesday was virtually identical to one brought before the U.N. Security Council early this month – which Haley vetoed.
It was introduced following the violence that occurred when tens of thousands of Palestinians tried to breach the Gaza-Israel border in a Hamas-backed campaign in mid-May. Israeli forces guarding the border shot dead 62 Palestinians – 80 percent of them Hamas members, according to the terrorist organization.
‘Favorite political sport’
In her remarks before the vote on her amendment, Haley said that there were “many terrible things happening in the world today,” citing crises in Nicaragua, Iran, Yemen and Burma. Yet the U.N., she said, has not “gathered here to discuss any of those urgent issues.”
“What makes Gaza different for some is that attacking Israel is their favorite political sport,” she said. “That’s why we’re here today.”
Haley pointed out that Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 (when it violently wrested control from Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction), but that 11 years on its people suffered enormous unemployment and poverty in what remains “a haven for terrorist activity.”
“At what point will the U.N. actually hold accountable those who are in charge of Gaza and running it into the ground?” she asked.
“Instead, this resolution holds Hamas completely unaccountable for most of the recent unrest. It blames everything on Israel.”
The adopted text deplores “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians … 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 asked U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres to present proposals in 60 days on ways to ensure protection of Palestinian civilians, including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
The resolution also “deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas,” but without attributing blame – or mentioning Hamas once by name.