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A victory for Palestinians, but how effectual?

Jun 19,2018 - Last updated at Jun 19,2018

The world took little notice of last week’s UN General Assembly resolution "urging" greater protection of the Palestinian people in Gaza and elsewhere in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and "deploring" the Israeli use of 'excessive, disproportional and indiscriminate’ force against them.

The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming support of 120 countries, while 45 states voted against it and 8 countries abstained. An amendment, introduced by the US purporting to condemn Hamas, was defeated as 62 countries voted against it and 58 countries abstained.

This is a moral and political victory for the Palestinians but would hardly change things on the ground. While the vote for the resolution was indeed impressive, signaling an international political will against the violations of Israel against the Palestinian people, the vote on the role of Hamas was much less impressive as the UN member states were practically split on whether or not to censor the Palestinian organisation.

The creation of an international force along the Gaza border is a double-edged sword, as it would serve as an impediment to Hamas' own military agenda against Israel.

The use of the word “deplore” rather than “condemn” the Israeli use of force is also significant, as it also suggests a certain degree of wavering by the UN General Assembly on the Israeli use of force against the Palestinians.

When the UN gets to the point of establishing an international peace keeping force, it would require stronger words than “urges.”

Besides, what countries would venture to police the Gaza borders is also troublesome. Yet, all in all, the resolution remains a significant vote of confidence in the Palestinian cause.

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