United Nations condemns excessive Israeli force against Palestinians

United Nations condemns excessive Israeli force against Palestinians

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

The official also said that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman's return to Washington early in the week was not to prepare for presenting the peace plan but rather was a routine visit for general talks and to update Kushner and Greenblatt ahead of their trip to the region.

Mansour stressed: "We need action".

Wednesday's assembly meeting reflected the deep divisions that persist over the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The adopted resolution calls for "consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection" of Palestinian civilians.

The resolution, backed by Turkey on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and Algeria on behalf of the Arab League, deplored "the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem", and demanded Israel "refrain from such actions".

The US amendment condemning Hamas received 62 votes in favor, with 58 against and 42 abstentions.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said Tuesday night that he is lobbying 191 member states - all but the US and Israel - and expects to win. "It makes not one mention of the Hamas terrorists who routinely initiate the violence in Gaza", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the General Assembly before the vote.

Haley sent a letter to all United Nations member states Tuesday calling the proposed General Assembly resolution "fundamentally imbalanced" for "ignoring basic truths about the situation in Gaza" and not mentioning Hamas.

The General Assembly adopted a resolution with 120 votes in favour, eight against and 45 abstentions. But "thanks to the combined efforts with our American friends and our allies from around the world, we proved today that the automatic majority against Israel in the U.N.is not destiny and can be changed".

The permanent observer of the Palestinian mission to the United Nations, ambassador Riyad Mansour said that the USA amendment was offered in "bad faith" and said that the "illegal, belligerent, military occupation is the primary source and root cause of the recurrent and emergent crises we face".

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour urged the assembly before the vote to address the escalating violence in Gaza and "the crisis" of protecting civilians.

"It is a call to the Secretary General to come up with his recommendations on how to protect civilians from further attack".

Netanyahu said that Instead of improving the lives of Gaza residents, "Hamas uses the Palestinian population as a human shield in the ongoing war of terror against Israel".

It also "deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas", but doesn't say who is doing the firing.

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.

While Security Council resolutions are legally binding, General Assembly resolutions are not, although assembly spokesman Brenden Varma stressed Wednesday that they do reflect "political will" as well as worldwide opinion. The killings coincided with the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem.

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