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US vetoes UN resolution on protecting Palestinians

By AFP - Jun 03,2018 - Last updated at Jun 03,2018

Father (2nd left) of 21-year-old medic Razan Al Najjar holds her jacket covered with blood during her funeral after she was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces in Khan Younis on Saturday (AFP photo)

UNITED NATIONS/BRUSSELS — The United States vetoed on Friday an Arab-backed UN draft resolution calling for measures to protect the Palestinians, but failed to win any backing for its own text condemning Hamas for the violence in Gaza.

The two failed votes at the Security Council came a few hours after a young Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces near the Gaza border fence.

At least 123 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli occupation forces’ fire since the protests began at the end of March. No Israelis have been killed. 

US Ambassador Nikki Haley declared that “it is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel”, saying council members were “willing to blame Israel, but unwilling to blame Hamas”.

Ten countries, including China, France and Russia voted in favour of the draft put forward by Kuwait on behalf of Arab countries. Four countries — Britain, Ethiopia, The Netherlands and Poland — abstained.

Kuwait’s Ambassador Mansour Al Otaibi said the US veto “will increase the sense of despair among the Palestinians”, fuel further violence and “feed the sentiments of hatred and extremism”.

The Kuwait-drafted text had called for “measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and requested a UN report on proposals for an “international protection mechanism”.


No support for US draft 


During a second vote, the United States failed to win support for its own rival measure calling on Palestinian resistance organisations to halt their support for protests in Gaza and condemning Hamas.

Eleven countries abstained, while Russia and two others opposed it.

A draft resolution requires nine votes to be adopted in the 15-member council and no veto from the five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

The outcome deepened the deadlock at the top UN body over how to respond to the flareup of occupation violence in Gaza that a UN envoy has warned is close to the brink of war.

“This session was another missed opportunity for this council,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre said, deploring an “increasingly deafening silence” from the United Nations on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

A barrage of rocket and mortars into Israel from Gaza on Tuesday was followed by Israeli strikes on 65 sites in the Gaza Strip in the worst flareup since the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza.

After the failed votes, Arab diplomats said they were considering turning to the UN General Assembly to win adoption for the US-vetoed resolution.

It was the second time that Haley has resorted to US veto power to block a UN measure on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

In December, Haley vetoed a draft resolution that rejected President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to occupied  Jerusalem after all 14 other council members supported it.

On Thursday. the European Union on Thursday urged Israel to reconsider its decision to demolish a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, saying it undermines “prospects for a lasting peace”.

A statement from the EU denounced the intended destruction of the Khan Al Ahmar village which comes at the same time as the construction of more illegal Israeli settlements on occupied land. 

“Building new settlements for Israelis while demolishing Palestinian homes in the same area will only further entrench a one-state reality of unequal rights, perpetual occupation and conflict,” the statement said.

The EU referenced a decision made on Wednesday to build nearly 2,000 settlement units in the West Bank, while demolishing Khan Al Ahmar, “the main land reserve of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state”.

“These developments, alongside a number of other related actions taken in recent months, seriously undermine the viability of a negotiated two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” the statement said. 

“In line with our long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider and reverse these decisions.”

The EU said it has raised the issue directly with the Israeli authorities.

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