UN General Assembly condemns Israel’s excessive force in Gaza

14 June 2018

UN General Assembly condemns Israel’s excessive force in Gaza

The United Nations General Assembly has officially condemned Israel for “excessive use of force” at the Gaza border by passing a resolution on Wednesday night that proposes forming an international protection mechanism in Gaza.

The resolution was passed with 120 countries in favour, eight against and 45 abstaining. It was put forward in the General Assembly by Turkey, Algeria and Palestine.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, criticised the General Assembly for putting too much focus on the Gaza conflict rather than more pressing issues, such as those in Nicaragua, Myanmar (Burma), and Yemen.

“Gaza is important, but what makes it more urgent than many other desperate places?” Haley asked. “What makes Gaza different for some is that attacking Israel is their favourite sport.”

She stated that the resolution condemned Israel, calling it “totally one-sided” and unhelpful for promoting peace.

Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s UN envoy, voiced his argument before the vote of the resolution took place, saying, “We need protection for our civilian people.”

He said the resolution “intended to contribute to a de-escalation of the volatile situation.”

“We cannot remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people,” Mr Mansour said.

Ms Haley also asked for an amendment of the resolution that would strongly denounce Hamas, which is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamist fundamentalist organisation.

Hamas is regarded by various countries and international organisations, such as Israel, United States and the European Union, as a terrorist organisation.

Sixty-two countries voted in favour of the amendment and 58 against it, however the small majority was not enough to add the amendment, as passing it would require a two-thirds majority.

“By supporting this resolution you are colluding with a terrorist organisation, by supporting this resolution you are empowering Hamas,” Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon told the General Assembly before the vote.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also heavily scrutinised the official resolution by arguing that Hamas is the true source of the violence in Gaza, and that the resolution brings shame to the UN.

“It also draws attention away from so many other pressing issues that demand the attention of the international community.” he said.

The protests, which Palestinian organisers call “The Great March of Return”, have continued for over two months since 30 March.

Violence came to an all-time high on 14 May, when Israeli forces opened live fire and set off tear gas bombs onto the Palestinian protesters, who were attempting to cross the Gaza border.

The day saw 60 dead, and thousands of other Palestinian demonstrators wounded.