Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

United Nations condemns excessive Israeli force against Palestinians

United Nations condemns excessive Israeli force against Palestinians

Israeli forces have killed more than 120 Palestinians since 30 March, according to a United Nations tally.

The United Nations General Assembly voted Wednesday to blame Israel for violence in Gaza last month, rejecting a USA amendment that would have condemned Hamas as well.

The General Assembly largely ignored Trump's threats at the time to cut off aid to any country that went against the United States and voted 128-9 to denounce the USA president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and declare it "null and void".

In December, 128 countries defied US President Donald Trump and voted in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Arab and Islamic nations then chose to seek a vote on virtually the identical resolution at Wednesday's emergency meeting of the General Assembly, where there are no vetoes.

Turkey´s Ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu defended the resolution, saying it was "about taking sides with global law" and showing the Palestinians that the world "does care about their suffering". Speaking from the floor, US Ambassador Nikki Haley countered that "denying a vote on the US amendment would be the height of this body's hypocrisy". It also seeks recommendations to protect Palestinian civilians.

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 120 to 8, with 45 abstentions in the 193-nation assembly.

"We need protection of our civilian population", Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told the General Assembly before the vote, adding that the resolution was "intended to contribute to a de-escalation of the volatile situation".

Haley condemned the adopted resolution as "morally bankrupt".

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Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour dismissed the United States amendments blaming Hamas as "games and gimmicks" and urged ambassadors not to be "fooled" by the U.S. proposal.

The Palestinians and their supporters made a decision to go to the 193-member assembly, where there are no vetoes, after the USA vetoed virtually the same resolution in the Security Council on June 1.

"We can not remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people", Mansour said.

Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that Israel's use of lethal force against Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks may constitute war crimes.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley described the resolution as "grossly one-sided" as she pinned the blame on much of Palestinians' suffering on the Hamas movement, which runs the strip.

Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Togo joined Israel and the U.S. in voting against the resolution.

The General Assembly text condemned the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas, but did not mention Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza.

While Security Council resolutions are legally binding, General Assembly resolutions are not, although assembly spokesman Brendan Varma stressed Wednesday that they do reflect "political will" as well as worldwide opinion. Last month the Palestinians urged the International Criminal Court in The Hague to launch an investigation into Israeli policies and actions in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, accusing Israel of systemic crimes.

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