A United States amendment to a Palestinian-backed draft resolution at the U.N. General Assembly that would have condemned the terrorist group Hamas was defeated even before getting a vote Wednesday afternoon because of a procedural maneuver by Algeria, one of the sponsors of the Palestinian draft resolution.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, before the voting, said that the attempt to obstruct the vote was “shameful.”
The U.S. amendment would have been added onto a Palestinian-backed draft resolution that, in part, called for consideration of an international protection force for Palestinian civilians without any condemnation of Hamas, and was seen by the US as too one-sided.
But had the Algerian blocking maneuver not been put in play, the U.S. amendment to condemn Hamas looked as if it would have passed. The U.S. elicited 62 votes in favor with 58 against and 42 abstentions. This should have seen its amendment brought to a vote according to Ambassador Haley. But the president of the General Assembly claimed that since the measure did not meet a supposed required two-thirds majority, it failed on that basis and was not brought up for consideration.
Following the vote, Haley released a statement that read, in part, “It is no wonder that no one takes the U.N. seriously as a force for Middle East peace.”
The statement claimed a change had taken place in this vote: “The common practice of turning a blind eye to the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias is changing. Today, a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the U.S.-led effort to address Hamas’s responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza. We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side. 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.”
Before the voting Haley angrily said: “The fact that some member states believe that condemning Hamas does not even deserve a vote is astounding. Denying a vote on the U.S. amendment would be the height of this body’s hypocrisy.”
The Palestinian-backed resolution was largely the same as the Kuwaiti draft that had failed because of a U.S. veto at the beginning of the month in the Security Council. Four other members of the Security Council abstained citing its one-sided nature.
While the Palestinian-backed General Assembly resolution passed with 120 votes in favor, there were still 45 abstentions with a further eight countries voting against it, including the U.S., Israel and Australia. U.N. General Assembly resolutions don’t have the same legal clout of Security Council resolutions, but send a political message.
Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon, speaking before the vote, said, “The resolution is nothing more than a twisted stamp of approval for terrorism.”
He said Wednesday’s proceeding was making a mockery of the U.N.
Danon said, “Just for comparison, the devastation in Syria that has claimed 500,000 lives, and displaced seven million people has never resulted in an emergency special session of the General Assembly. This type of worldwide assault is reserved only for Israel.”
Danon continued, “It is not criticism. It is not a difference in opinion in policy. It is antisemitism.”
The Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour criticized the attempt by the U.S. for its attempt to put in an amendment, and said, that, “The bad faith attempt to insert an amendment that would tragically unbalance the text and shift the Assembly’s focus away from the core objective of protecting civilians and of upholding international law.”
Mansour had more criticism for the U.S.’s introduction of an amendment, at what, he said, was at the last minute. He called them “games and gimmicks.” He said they would not be sold to the very sophisticated diplomats in this chamber.
One European diplomat speaking on background told Fox News, “The result of the vote in the General Assembly is a good score for the Palestinians, close to their score on the Jerusalem vote in December, and,” he continued, “a very honorable outcome for the U.S., much better for them than their isolated position in the Security Council two weeks ago.”
In a statement released following the vote, Danon applauded what he said showed a plurality of nations had voted in favor of the anti-Hamas U.S. amendment.
His statement read, in part, “Thanks to the combined efforts with our American friends and our allies from around the world, we proved today that the automatic majority against Israel in the U.N. is not destiny and can be changed.”
Indeed, according to the vote tally, all the Europeans voted for the U.S. amendment to condemn Hamas but they were divided on the Palestinian-backed resolution. Sixteen abstained, including the U.K. and Germany, while 12 voted in favor, including France and Sweden.
According to the terms of the resolution, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres must now report back his findings on the resolution within 60 days.
Ben Evansky reports for Fox News on the United Nations and international affairs.