United States fails in bid for UN condemnation of Hamas

UN rejects US proposal to condemn Hamas

The U.S. -drafted resolution got 87 votes in favor and 57 against, with 33 abstentions, meaning it fell short of the required two-thirds majority needed to pass. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, argued for a simple majority vote, but a last-minute rule change was passed that foreshadowed the resolution's failure.

The United States had won crucial backing from the European Union, with all 28 countries supporting the U.S. measure that would have condemned Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and demands an end to the violence.

The resolution, backed strongly by Israel and the US, needed a two-thirds majority to pass following an earlier vote in the assembly.

After the USA draft on Hamas failed to win adoption, the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the Irish resolution by a vote of 156-6, with 12 abstentions.

Kuwait had asked the assembly, on behalf of Arab countries, to require a two-thirds majority, which was narrowly endorsed by a vote of 75 in favor, including European Union countries, 72 against and 26 abstentions.

The resolution failed to be adopted Thursday as it could not garner two-thirds support in the General Assembly.

A Hamas spokesman said in a statement late Thursday that the result of the vote was a "slap" to the US administration.

The rival resolutions reflect the deep divisions among the 193 United Nations member states over the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and the failure to end it.

"She would like to go out with something", said a Security Council diplomat of the US -drafted resolution.

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She also posed the question of the resolution in stark terms: "The question before us now is whether the United Nations thinks terrorism is acceptable if, and only if, it is directed against Israel".

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party is locked in a bitter decade-long split with Hamas, also welcomed the resolution's defeat saying: "The Palestinian presidency will not allow for the condemnation of the national Palestinian struggle". "I thank the American administration and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley for the initiative".

Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are non-binding, but they carry political weight and are seen as a barometer of world opinion. One that is directly causing harm to the Palestinian people?

Israel and Hamas have gone to war three times.

Had it passed, the resolution would have marked a major achievement for Haley, who departs from her role as United Nations ambassador in January and has made calling out anti-Israel bias one of the central goals of her time at the United Nations.

Both the United States and European Union have classified Hamas as a terrorist group.

By contrast, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the "large majority" - 87 countries - "that took a stance against Hamas" for the first time, calling it "an important achievement for the United States and Israel".

Diplomats from nine Arab countries were sent letters by Jason Greenblatt, the White House envoy who is working with Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, on the administration's peace proposal. And he said it would also turn attention away from Israel's occupation, settlement activities and "blockade" - whether in Gaza, the West Bank or east Jerusalem which the Palestinians want as their future capital. And it reaffirms "unwavering support. for the two-state solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders".

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