Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

UN Assembly blames Israel for Gaza violence

UN Assembly blames Israel for Gaza violence

The U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Israel's use of excessive force on Palestinian civilians.

The resolution stated it "deplores the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip", citing Israel's use of live ammunition against protesters and the deaths of a journalist and medical personnel.

Arab countries backing the measure turned to the General Assembly after the United States used its veto in the Security Council to block the resolution on June 1.

While resolutions in the General Assembly are not legally binding, they carry political implication that can spark global action.

Despite the maneuvers, the Arab-backed resolution is expected to be adopted, but it remains unclear whether a strong majority will support it in the face of strong USA opposition. It is totally one-sided.

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Haley sent a letter to all United Nations member states Tuesday calling the proposed General Assembly resolution "fundamentally imbalanced" for "ignoring basic truths about the situation in Gaza" and not mentioning Hamas. A bid by the United States to present an amendment condemning Hamas failed to garner the two-third majority needed for adoption.

Algerian Ambassador Sabri Boukadoum, representing Arab nations, first sought to block a vote on the USA amendment, saying it wasn't relevant to the resolution.

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 US president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and declare it "null and void".

Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Togo joined Israel and the USA in voting against the resolution. The measure, sponsored by Palestine, Turkey and Algeria, comes roughly a month after dozens of Palestinians were killed during protests along the Gaza border.

Since near-weekly mass protests began March 30 along the Israel-Gaze border, more than 120 Palestinians have been killed and over 3,800 wounded by Israeli army fire. Washington has maintained Israel's right to defend itself and refrained from joining calls for Israeli restraint.

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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 U.S. embassy there.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour urged the assembly before the vote to address the escalating violence in Gaza and "the crisis" of protecting civilians.

Palestinians had been protesting near the Gaza border since spring, denouncing Israeli occupation and the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and also demanding the right to return to the areas they were expelled from in 1948, after Israel was established.

In December 128 countries defied President Donald Trump and voted in favor of a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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