Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

120 countries blame Israel for 'excessive' force against Palestinians

120 countries blame Israel for 'excessive' force against Palestinians

Over 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during the protests along the border with Gaza that began on March 30. No Israelis have died.

The resolution passed by a vote of 120-8 with 45 countries abstaining.

The draft General Assembly resolution calls for "immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip".

In apparent frustration, Haley said "for some, attacking Israel is their favorite political sport".

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is slated to arrive in Washington, D.C., this week, for regular meetings and to "catch up" with Kushner and Greenblatt before the head to the Middle East, the official said.

Standing with a half dozen Arab and Islamic supporters Friday, the Palestinian ambassador said Guterres "should utilize all the tools available to him in the (U.N.) Secretariat and on the ground, and with all of the collective mind of all of us who are ready and willing to help in any possible way".

The official's observation followed an afternoon of high drama over a resolution submitted by Arab and Islamic member states that blamed Israel for the Gaza violence, ignored Hamas entirely, and demanded "international protection" for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"The worldwide community needs to rip up the old playbook, where Israel conducts investigations that mainly whitewash the conduct of its troops and the U.S. blocks global accountability with its Security Council Veto, and instead impose real costs for such blatant disregard for Palestinian lives".

While Security Council resolutions are legally binding, General Assembly resolutions are not, although assembly spokesman Brenden Varma stressed Wednesday that they do reflect "political will" as well as worldwide opinion.

"It is a call to the secretary-general to come up with his recommendations on how to protect civilians from further attack".

These could range from setting up an observer mission to a full-blown peacekeeping force, but action on any option would require backing from the Security Council, where the United States has veto power.

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".

"The UN bias against Israel runs very deep, but the fact that the American amendment against Hamas won a voting plurality in the UN General Assembly shows that times are changing", an official at the USA mission to the UN told The Algemeiner after the vote. We need protection for our civilian population.

A US bid to condemn Hamas, a Palestinian fundamentalist group, for attacks on Israel also received a majority vote in favor - 62-58 with 42 abstaining - but the president of the General Assembly rejected it because it didn't have the required two-thirds majority to pass.

Taking the podium, Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon assailed the measure as an "attempt to take away our basic right to self-defense".

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks in favor of an amendment condemning Hamas during a General Assembly debate.

Algerian Ambassador Sabri Boukadoum, representing Arab nations, first sought to block a vote on the US amendment, saying it wasn't relevant to the resolution. Lajčák made a hasty presidential ruling that a two-thirds majority was needed for the amendment to pass. Speaking from the floor, US Ambassador Nikki Haley countered that "denying a vote on the US amendment would be the height of this body's hypocrisy". That vote was 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions.

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

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