Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018

N. does not vote to condemn Hamas, hurting Israel and Trump government

A resolution that would have condemned the Hamas militant group and its attacks on Israel failed to convince the UN on Thursday, despite an aggressive US-Israel campaign to present it as a vote on peace and security. terrorism.

The resolution proposed by the United States received 87 votes to 57, with 33 abstentions, which meant that it had not obtained the required two-thirds majority. Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, called for a simple majority vote, but a last minute change of rule was adopted, announcing the failure of the resolution.

The vote was a personal defeat for Haley, probably one of his last major actions as a US envoy. She resigned with effect at the end of the year and made the fight against criticism of Israel in the world body one of the signatures of her term.

The vote was also a political disappointment for the Trump government, which had been pushing hard for many Arab states to break with their usual support for the Palestinian position and support the anti-Hamas resolution. But all Arab countries voted against, even those who signed peace treaties with Israel and who also see relations warm with Jerusalem.

Their refusal to support the US resolution comes just weeks before the White House is ready to unveil a proposal to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Support from the Arab states is considered crucial for the launch of this program, and the US vote suggests that it could receive an unexpected reception.

Haley broke with her prepared remarks and made a passionate appeal to the Arab states for them to reach a breakthrough in a seven-decade-long conflict since the founding of Israel.

"I want to take a personal moment and ask my Arab brothers and sisters: is hate so strong?" She said. "Is the hatred for Israel so strong that you will defend a terrorist organization? Who directly causes prejudice to the Palestinian people? Is not it time to let that go? For true peace and security throughout the region, is not it time for both sides to let that go?"

Danny Danon, the Israeli envoy to the United States, reprimanded the states that rejected the resolution.

"Your silence in the face of evil reveals your true colors," he said. "It tells us which side you are on – the side that does not care about the lives of innocent Israelis and innocent Palestinians who have fallen victim to Hamas terrorists."

The representative of Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Arab bloc, condemned violence and extremism, but expressed concern that the US draft resolution omitted any mention of a two-state solution and aimed at only to condemn a party. in the conflict.

The United States and Israel have made considerable efforts to convince the Arab states to join in a direct condemnation of Hamas, calling for the denunciation of terrorism to be a fundamental element of the peace negotiations.

Diplomats from nine Arab countries have received letters from White House envoy Jason Greenblatt, who is working with Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and advisor, on the administration's peace proposal.

"The time has come for all countries to speak out for or against Hamas violence," said the letter to the envoys of Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. , Qatar, Jordan and Bahrain and Oman.

Both Greenblatt and Haley have intensified their criticism of Hamas, which has been running Gaza since 2007. In recent months, the militant group has fired hundreds of Gaza rockets into Israel.

"The UN has a chance to condemn Hamas for the first time," Haley tweeted on Thursday. "If the UN fails to do so, its lack of credibility will speak for itself."

Haley has endorsed Israel's support and criticism of the anti-Israeli bias perceived by the United Kingdom as a signature of his mandate. Before the vote, she sent a letter to the missions of the 193 member countries of the United Kingdom asking them to support the US resolution.

"The United States takes the results of this vote very seriously," wrote Haley, who has repeatedly said that the administration "would take the name" of all countries voting against US foreign policy.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter that he "congratulated" the 87 countries that had taken a stand against Hamas. The fact that a majority supported it, though insufficient for the resolution to be passed, was "a very important achievement for the United States and Israel," he wrote.

Netanyahu has been criticized in recent weeks for his perceived soft attitude towards Hamas – criticisms that have almost brought down his government. On Thursday, he again faced new challenges on this front, allowing Qatar to enter $ 15 million in cash in Gaza to pay Hamas salaries.

The transfer of money last month was one of the factors mentioned by former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, when he left the coalition, leaving Netanyahu with only one majority in the Knesset. Liberman also spoke of Netanyahu's decision to sign a ceasefire with Hamas a few days later, despite the worst rockets fired from Gaza since the 2014 war. The decision provoked demonstrations in Israeli communities around Gaza and seriously undermined the prime minister's security powers.

Netanyahu defended his decision on Thursday shortly before images of stacks of hundred dollar bills arriving in Gaza were broadcast on social media. "It certainly is more stable than before," he said. "My goal was to calm down and see if we could have a longer-term arrangement."


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