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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

US fails in UN effort to censure Hamas for terrorism

Nikki Haley's motion failed to gain a two-thirds majority

The US resolution required a two-thirds majority to pass. AFP
The US resolution required a two-thirds majority to pass. AFP

A US resolution that aimed to condemn Hamas for its firing of rockets at Israel was rejected at the United Nations on Thursday, with the motion failing to win the necessary two-thirds majority among those nations that voted.

It did, however, garner a simple majority, 87 votes to 58, which Israel cited as a victory that had nevertheless been unjustly “hijacked by a political move of procedure”. Some 32 countries abstained.

The resolution was presented by outgoing US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who had appealed to members to use simple majority voting.

“Today could be a historic day at the United Nations, or it could just be another day,” she said before the vote. “The question is whether the UN sees terrorism as acceptable, only if it is directed against Israel.”

Arab countries presented the amendment asking that the US resolution require a two-thirds majority, an action that itself required a vote among members and it passed narrowly, 75 to 72, with 26 abstentions, effectively ending Ms Haley's chances of success.

So-called non-aligned nations, which are a majority in the assembly, customarily follow the Palestinians’ lead in such votes.

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The resolution asked UN members to “condemn Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk”. Had it passed it would have been an unprecedented censure at the UN of the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza.

After the vote the Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said the US resolution was part of “cynical attempts” to subvert the battle for an independent state.

“We express our sincere and deepest gratitude to all member states who had stood on the side of justice,” he said of those who rejected Ms Haley's appeal.

“They have helped push back efforts to undermine our efforts for justice,” the Palestinian envoy added.

Ms Haley, in her post throughout Mr Trump’s tenure, said in October that she would be leaving the UN by the end of the year, in what was a surprise announcement. She has routinely railed against the UN’s treatment of Israel during her tenure, but no successor has yet been named.