UN rejects US resolution condemning Hamas

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) failed to pass a US sponsored resolution yesterday condemning Hamas. The resolution was supported by a majority of 87 to 57, with 33 abstentions but an earlier motion stipulated that it required a two-thirds majority in order to be adopted.

Twenty minutes before the vote, the UNGA held a separate vote on the size of the majority the resolution would need to pass. The US asked that a simple majority would be required, but Kuwait asked for a two-thirds majority. The Kuwaiti request won by a slim majority.

The US-backed resolution, which was supported by all EU member states, was called: “Activities of Hamas and Other Militant Groups in Gaza”. The resolution condemned Hamas for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk.” It demanded that: “Hamas and other militant actors including Palestinian Islamic Jihad cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices.” It also condemned Hamas’s use of resources in Gaza to “construct military infrastructure, including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas, when such resources could be used to address the critical needs of the civilian population.”

In response to the failed vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is the first time that a majority of countries have voted against Hamas and I commend each of the 87 countries that took a principled stand against Hamas.” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said: “The General Assembly has passed over 700 resolutions condemning Israel. And not one single resolution condemning Hamas. That, more than anything else, is a condemnation of the United Nations itself,”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri wrote on Twitter: “The failure of the American venture at the United Nations represents a slap to the US administration and confirmation of the legitimacy of the resistance,” and Wafa reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said: “The presidency thanked all the states that voted against the American draft resolution, affirming that it will not allow for the condemnation of the Palestinian national struggle.”