U.S. asks UN to condemn Hamas over Gaza violence

Ambassador Haley blasts UN resolution condemning Israel for Gazan deaths, proposes amendment condemning Hamas for the violence.

Elad Benari ,

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Tuesday slammed a UN draft resolution condemning Israel for Palestinian Arab deaths in Gaza as "fundamentally imbalanced" and instead proposed condemning Hamas for the violence.

The UN General Assembly is set to vote on the Arab-backed measure on Wednesday after more than 120 Palestinians were killed during recent violent riots near the border with Gaza.

In a letter sent to fellow ambassadors, Haley said the United States had presented an amendment to the draft resolution that condemns Hamas for firing rockets at Israel and "inciting violence" along the border with Gaza.

The 193-nation assembly will vote on the U.S.-drafted amendment before the vote on the resolution.

"Any resolution focused on the protection of civilians in Gaza must recognize the destabilizing and reckless actions of Hamas, which endanger the lives and livelihoods of innocent civilians," Haley wrote in the letter seen by AFP.

The draft text condemns Israel's use of "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force" against Palestinian civilians, but also deplores the firing of rockets by Gazan terrorists into Israel.

However, it does not specifically mention Hamas.

"This omission should be unacceptable to all member-states, given that Hamas fired over 100 rockets at Israel last month, provoked violent uprisings and obstructed the flow of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people," wrote Haley.

"The proposed resolution is a fundamentally imbalanced text that ignores basic truths about the situation in Gaza," she added.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed the American amendment to the General Assembly resolution in a statement Tuesday night.

“It is despicable for any country to even consider to vote for a resolution condemning Israel while refusing to support the condemnation of Hamas. Such behavior is hypocritical at best, and at worst amounts to openly emboldening an internationally recognized terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of countless of innocent people,” said the Israeli ambassador.

The vote in the General Assembly comes two weeks after the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution proposed by Kuwait and calling for the "protection" of Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

At the same time, the Security Council rejected a U.S.-drafted measure condemning the Hamas terrorist group for the recent violence in Gaza.

Diplomats expect the U.S. amendment to fail in the General Assembly and for the Arab-backed resolution to be adopted, but it remains unclear how many votes it will garner in the face of strong U.S. opposition.

The Palestinian Authority is hoping to win as many votes as those cast in support of a resolution in December rejecting President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. That vote was 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions.

The vote in December also came after the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have required Trump to rescind his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.