A US attempt to condemn Hamas at the UN for firing rockets into Israel failed to get enough votes to pass on Thursday.
The US draft won 87 votes in favour, compared to 58 against, but failed to receive the two-thirds majority needed. Thirty-two countries abstained.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called the move, which would have been the first formal condemnation of Hamas by the UN body, an “essential step” to achieving peace in the Middle East, as she urged UN member states to support the text in remarks ahead of the vote.
Haley also pointed to the many UN General Assembly resolutions criticizing Israel and said such a statement on Hamas would be an opportunity for the UN to “right a historic wrong” by correcting its “awful record” of passing resolutions against Israel.
Haley said the UN General Assembly must be “on record unambiguously and unconditionally condemning Hamas’ terrorism” before it can credibly advocate for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said gaining so much support was an “important achievement” and commended all countries who supported the resolution for taking a “principled stand against Hamas,” in a post on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the result a “slap” to the US administration and said it was “a confirmation of the legitimacy of resistance and a great political support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause.”
Islamist militant group Hamas has had de facto control of the Gaza Strip since 2007.
The resolution, which would not have been legally binding, aimed to condemn the Palestinian extremist organization “for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk.”
The text also demanded that “Hamas and other militant actors, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices,” according to a statement circulated by the US mission to the UN.
Following the failed vote, a second resolution on “comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East” was passed, after Ireland submitted the short text on behalf of the Palestinian UN mission.
That resolution called for “lasting peace” and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, including of East Jerusalem.
It also reaffirms “unwavering support” for a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.
Outgoing ambassador Haley has relayed the US administration’s staunch pro-Israel stance in her role as US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the UN.
Under Trump, the US has pulled out of UNESCO and the UN Human Rights Council amid claims of anti-Israel bias.
Trump has tasked his son-in-law, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, with preparing a plan for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected US involvement, saying the Trump administration disqualified itself as a negotiator by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.