Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Palestinians urge UN to condemn Israel over Gaza

A protester waves a Palestinian flag during a demonstration against US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in front of the United States embassy in Santiago UN Assembly approves resolution blaming Israel for Gaza violence | TheHill
Jeannette Daniel | 14 June, 2018, 09:03

The marchers have also pressed demands for a "right of return" for descendants of Palestinian refugees to ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

The statement was issued Wednesday ahead of an emergency UN General Assembly meeting to vote on a resolution condemning Israel's "excessive use of force".

The General Assembly largely ignored Trump's threats at the time to cut off aid to any country that went against the United States and voted 128-9 to denounce the USA president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and declare it "null and void".

Since the near-weekly protests began March 30, more than 120 Palestinians have been killed and over 3,800 wounded by Israeli army fire. The overwhelming majority of the dead and wounded have been unarmed, according to Gaza health officials. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called that Kuwait-sponsored resolution "grossly one-sided" for criticizing the use of force by Israel while not mentioning the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza. Israel accuses Hamas of trying to carry out attacks and damage the border fence under the guise of the protests. "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", she said.

The proposed US amendment would also condemn the diversion of resources in Gaza to building tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to fire rockets and express "grave concern" at the destruction of the Kerem Shalom crossing point to Israel "by actors in Gaza".

Haley expressed optimism, however, about the number of countries that supported the US amendment to condemn Hamas.

More news: Five Labour frontbenchers quit over Brexit vote

The Algerian blocking move was itself put to a vote, with 78 members opposing, 26 abstaining and 59 in favor - a rare defeat for the pro-Palestinian bloc in the General Assembly, and not the last of the afternoon.

Canada's ambassador Marc-André Blanchard spoke - in addition to Haley - in favor of the US amendment before the vote.

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 USA embassy there. After a short break, Lajcak put the USA appeal to a vote. This time, Lajčák's ruling was upheld - 66 states voted with the USA, with 73 voting in favor of the ruling, and 26 abstaining.

The assembly then voted on the original Palestinian-backed resolution which was approved by a vote of 120-8 with 45 abstentions.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyWhat you need to know about Tuesday's elections South Carolina Gov. McMaster heads to runoff What to watch in Tuesday's primary elections MORE voted against the motion, and sharply denounced the vote as "morally bankrupt" in a statement. "It blames everything on Israel", Haley said. "Today, a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the USA -led effort to address Hamas' responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza".

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