The Trump Administration and Israel suffer a setback after a UN Resolution condemning the Palestinian group Hamas fails to garner enough support.
By Carolina McCabe
Rabat – On Thursday, a resolution sponsored by the US condemning the militant group Hamas for its attacks on Israel, failed to pass at the UN General Assembly.
The United States and Israel led an aggressive campaign to pass the resolution. While the resolution won a majority, it failed to obtain the two-thirds backing required. The vote was 87 to 57, with 33 abstentions.
Before the vote, Arab nations needed two-thirds majority for approval of the resolution, instead of the simple majority supported by the United States. The 193-member body narrowly passed the requirement, ultimately leading to the failure of the resolution.
The US lobbied aggressively to persuade Arab states to break from their routine backing the Palestinian position, and instead to vote in support of the resolution. US Envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, pleaded with Arab states before the vote.
“I want to take a personal moment and ask my Arab brothers and sisters — is the hatred that strong?” Haley said. “Is the hatred toward Israel so strong that you’ll defend a terrorist organization? One that is directly causing harm to the Palestinian people? Isn’t it time to let that go? For true peace and security in the entire region, isn’t it time for both sides to let this go?”
The White House envoy, Jason Greenblatt, who is working on the Trump administration’s peace proposal, sent letters to diplomats from Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, and Oman. “The time has come for all countries to take a stance on whether they are for or against Hamas’ violence,” said the letter.
All Arab states ultimately voted against the resolution. Speaking for the Arab bloc, the Kuwaiti representative expressed disappointment that the US draft resolution failed to mention a two-state solution and focused solely on condemning one party. The draft resolution ignored Israeli actions against Palestinians.
Last month, Palestinian rockets fired into Israel. Israeli aircrafts responded through bombing targets in Palestinian territory. The recent flare-up of violence in Gaza prompted an international response, spurring the desire for potential peace talks.
Reactions to the resolution’s failure
Although the two-thirds majority was not achieved, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu commended the “sweeping majority of countries” who had stood up against Hamas for the first time.
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, reacted positively to the resolution’s defeat. “The Palestinian presidency will not allow for the condemnation of the national Palestinian struggle,” Abbas said
The Israeli envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon, criticized the states that voted against the resolution. “Your silence in the face of evil reveals your true colors,” he said. “It tells us what side you are on — the side that does not care about the lives of innocent Israelis and innocent Palestinians who have fallen victim to the terrorists of Hamas.”
For the first time at the UN, a record 87 countries condemned Hamas for its rocket fire & use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes against Israel. I thank @nikkihaley for her hard work in forming an unprecedented coalition. We will continue to fight for the truth! pic.twitter.com/MBDLERD23y
— Ambassador Danon (@dannydanon) 6 décembre 2018
In an official statement, Hamas thanked member states “that stood by our people’s resistance and the justice of their cause.” A spokesman for Hamas, Sami Abu Zahri, also responded to the failed resolution. “The failure of the American venture at the United Nations represents a slap to the US administration and confirmation of the legitimacy of the resistance,” Zahri wrote on Twitter.
What is Hamas?
Hamas is the largest Palestinian militant group. The group originated in 1987, following the first intifada. While its origins are carrying out the armed struggle against Israel and providing social welfare programs, in 2005, the group began engaging in the Palestinian political process. However, Hamas or parts of Hamas are considered to be a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, EU, and the UK among other powers.
Morocco and Israel
Morocco has no official diplomatic ties with Israel. However, the connection between Moroccan Jews in Israel and the Jewish community in Morocco is at the core of the Israeli-Moroccan relations. Morocco maintains economic ties, and traded $37 million worth of goods with Israel in 2017, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).