UNGA ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON PROTECTION OF PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS

UN General Assembly (UNGA), on Wednesday, adopted a resolution that urges protection of Palestinian civilians, after rejecting a U.S. demand to add a condemnation of attacks on Israel by Hamas.

The Arab-backed resolution passed by a vote of 120-8 with 45 abstentions.

It reiterates the need to take steps “to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and ensure their protection, as well as, to ensure accountability for all violations,” in the context of recent escalation of conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

Also, it deplores “the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.”

Initially sponsored by Algeria, Turkey and the Palestinians, the resolution got sponsorship from more countries shortly before its vote.

The General Assembly resolution expresses strong political will of the international community, though, unlike a Security Council resolution, is not legally binding.

Prior to the vote, the General Assembly cast ballots on the U.S.-drafted amendment, aiming to condemn Hamas, which won a simple majority, but fell short of two-thirds of the votes required for its passage.

The amendment condemns Hamas for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel” and “inciting violence along the boundary fence, thereby putting civilians at risk.”

Making a case for the amendment, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said, the resolution was “one-sided,” and held Hamas, which controls Gaza, “completely unaccountable” and blamed everything on Israel.

The Gaza-Israel border saw an escalation of violence after the Palestinians launched the “Great March of Return” protests in late Mar. The campaign, lasting through mid-May, demanded the Palestinian refugees’ right to return home.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent observer to the UN, said, before the General Assembly that, 129 Palestinian protesters were killed, including 16 children, and 13,000 more injured, in clashes with Israeli forces.

Earlier, a Kuwait-drafted resolution on the same topic and with almost identical text, was vetoed by the United States, though wining 10 votes in favour, in the 15-member council.

Wednesday’s vote was held during the General Assembly’s 10th Emergency Special Session entitled: “Illegal Israeli action in occupied east Jerusalem and the rest of occupied Palestinian territory.”

UNGA President, Miroslav Lajcak convened the meeting, following a request from the ambassadors of Algeria and Turkey, in their respective capacities as chair of the Arab group and chair of the Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The session followed a series of Security Council and General Assembly meetings regarding the Israeli decision to build Har Homa, a 6,500-unit housing project, in Jabal Abu Ghneim area of east Jerusalem.

Source: NAM News Network