(CNS News) – A U.S. attempt Thursday to have the U.N. General Assembly pass a first-ever resolution condemning Hamas was stonewalled when Arab states insisted on a two-thirds majority vote for adoption – a step U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said was designed “purely to disrupt” the U.S. initiative.
Although her effort failed, it did win the support of 87 member-states, while 57 voted against it, and another 33 abstained.
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said that the initiative would have succeeded, had the vote “not been hijacked by a political move of procedure.”
To those who voted against the Hamas resolution, he said, “you should be ashamed of yourselves.”
“Your silence in the face of evil reveals your true colors,” Danon said. “It tells us what side you are really on – a side that does not care for the lives of innocent Israelis, and innocent Palestinians who have fallen victim to the terrorism of Hamas.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the outcome “yet another disgraceful act of bias toward the Jewish State, and Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, called it “absolutely shameful.”
Haley had argued against the move – led by Kuwait on behalf of the Arab bloc – to push for a two-thirds vote, noting that just a week ago the General Assembly adopted six anti-Israel resolutions without insisting on the same requirement.
“Those putting forward this motion want our resolution to fail,” she said. “Let’s vote this the way it was intended to vote – up or down, majority rules, just like every single resolution under this agenda item last Friday.”
However a vote for the motion requiring a two-thirds majority for the Hamas resolution narrowly passed – 75-62, with 26 abstentions.
Above: The final result in the vote to condemn Hamas was 87-57, with 33 abstentions. (Screen capture: U.N. Webcast)
‘Isn’t it time to let that go?’
Speaking in support of the Hamas resolution, Haley said it could be a historic day at the U.N., — an opportunity to speak “with moral clarity against one of the most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world.”
“Or it could be a day in which it refuses to do that.”
After outlining Hamas’ long record of terrorism, she noted that the U.N. General Assembly has adopted more than 500 resolutions condemning Israel, and not one condemning Hamas.
Haley characterized failure to do so as a clear expression of anti-Semitism.
“There is nothing more anti-Semitic than saying terrorism is not terrorism when it’s used against the Jewish people and the Jewish State,” she said.
“There is nothing more anti-Semitic than saying we cannot condemn terrorism against Israel, while we would not hesitate for one minute to condemn the same acts if they were taken against any other country.”
Haley concluded her statement with a direct appeal to the Arab states.
“I want to take a personal moment and ask my Arab brothers and sisters: is the hatred that strong?” she asked. “Is the hatred toward Israel so strong that you’ll defend a terrorist organization, one that is directly causing harm to the Palestinian people? Isn’t it time to let that go?”
After the vote on the Hamas resolution, the presiding officer read out the vote count, and then noted that the resolution had failed, since it did not achieve the required two-thirds majority.
Applause swept across the chamber.
In a lengthy statement after the vote, Palestinian permanent observer Riyad Mansour called the fact more member-states had voted to condemn Hamas than against the resolution “an anomaly.”
He derided Haley’s initiative as “an unnecessary confrontation” and an attempt “to name and shame in a biased, flagrant manner.”
As for U.S. and Israeli criticism of countries that voted against the measure, Mansour said the Palestinians “reject any slander or insult directed at them for standing on principle
He also disputed U.S. assertions that resolutions condemning Israel – at least 20 will be adopted before the end of the year – were “one-sided” or “anti-Israeli.”
They were, he said, “pro-law, pro-rights and pro-peace” and “claims to the contrary are false.”
Although the initiative failed, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said afterwards he wanted to “commend each of the 87 countries that took a principled stand against Hamas,” and thanked the Trump administration and Haley.
Reacting to the vote, U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer noted that the last time the General Assembly voted for a resolution supportive of Israel was in 1991 – “with the U.S.-led repeal of the ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution, which occurred 27 years ago this month under the leadership of President George H. W. Bush.”