Netanyahu praises ‘sweeping majority’ at UN for condemning Hamas

While the U.S. failed to pass a U.N. resolution condemning Hamas terrorists, the Jewish state witnessed unprecedented support in an international forum known for its anti-Israel bias.

By Associated Press and World Israel News

A U.S.-sponsored draft resolution that condemned the Palestinian Islamic terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza with an iron fist, garnered unprecedented support at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, while ultimately falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

Before the vote on the resolution, the 193-member world body had narrowly voted to require a two-thirds majority for approval as sought by Arab nations, rather than the simple majority urged by the United States.

In the end, the vote on the resolution to condemn Hamas was 87 in favor against 57 opposed, with 33 abstentions — a plurality but below the two-thirds requirement to adopt it. The vote to require a two-thirds majority was much closer, 75-72, with 26 abstentions and several countries changing their votes to “yes” at the last minute.

The U.S. attempted to condemn Hamas for firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians and using airborne incendiary devices to commit millions of dollars of damage in arson terror.

Reacting to the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented, “The draft condemnation of Hamas in the UN General Assembly received a sweeping majority by countries that stood against Hamas. While it did not achieve a two-thirds majority, this is the first time that a majority of countries have voted against Hamas and I commend each of the 87 countries that took a principled stand against Hamas.”

“This is a very important achievement for the US and Israel. I thank the American administration and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley for the initiative,” Netanyahu added.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, echoed Netanyahu, commenting, “The broad support from the world demonstrates the changes we have made in the UN. With the support of these countries, we will continue our work in the UN against Hamas terrorism. I thank Ambassador Haley for her close cooperation in fighting for the truth that led to the formation of an unprecedented coalition for Israel and against terrorism.”

‘Obvious and Grotesque’ Terrorism

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the assembly before the vote that it could make history and unconditionally speak out against Hamas, which she called “one of the most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world.”

“What the U.N. chooses to do today will speak volumes about each country’s seriousness when it comes to condemning anti-Semitism,” she said. “Because there is nothing more anti-Semitic than saying terrorism is not terrorism when it’s used against the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”

Haley sharply criticized the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias, noting that “over the years, the U.N. has voted to condemn Israel over 500 times” — an average of 20 times a year.

She stressed that Hamas’ charter “openly calls for the destruction of Israel” and cited a variety of “barbaric terrorist tactics” it has used including suicide bombers and thousands of rockets, flaming kites and balloons.

Haley called condemnation of Hamas “an essential step” to a peace settlement.

Abbas Stands with Hamas Terror

Hamas welcomed the vote’s results, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party is locked in a bloody decade-long split with Hamas, also lauded the resolution’s defeat, saying, “The Palestinian presidency will not allow for the condemnation of the national Palestinian struggle.”

The Palestinians and their supporters also forced a vote on a short rival resolution entitled “Comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East” sponsored by Ireland that refused to mention Hamas.

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

It calls for “the achievement, without delay” of lasting Mideast peace on the basis of U.N. resolutions, singling out the December 2016 measure. 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.”

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

Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, reflecting the Arab view, said the U.S. resolution would “undermine the two-state solution which we aspire to.”

The United States changed its initial draft resolution to get backing from the 28-nation European Union, adding that it supports a comprehensive peace agreement “bearing in mind relevant United Nations resolutions.”