The Debate - US Hamas Enmity

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A U.S. attempt to get the United Nations to condemn violence by Hamas terror group for the first time failed on Thursday because the draft resolution fell short of votes needed in the General Assembly.

Kuwait had asked the assembly, on behalf of Arab countries, to require a two-thirds majority, which was narrowly endorsed by a vote of 75 in favor, including European Union countries, 72 against and 26 abstentions.

Before the voting, US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley said that despite more than 500 General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel, not one condemning Hamas has ever been adopted.

The proposed measure won 87 votes in the General Assembly, falling short of the required two-thirds majority. "Just last Friday there was no decision that resolutions under this same agenda item had to be adopted by a two-thirds vote".

The procedural vote requiring two-thirds adoption passed 75-72, with 26 nations abstaining.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon nevertheless hailed the vote as a "historic achievement" - in that a "record number" of countries got behind an anti-Hamas resolution.

The Israeli diplomat also thanked his USA counterpart, Ambassador Nikki Haley, for her "close cooperation in fighting for the truth that led to the formation of an unprecedented coalition for Israel and against terrorism". "One that is directly causing harm to the Palestinian people?"

The U.S. attempt to condemn Hamas and demand that the militant group stop firing rockets into Israel, using "airborne incendiary devices", and putting civilians at risk sparked a Palestinian-backed amendment sponsored by Bolivia.

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Iran's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Eshaq Al-e-Habib, echoed his Saudi counterpart's comments, calling the resolution a "distraction" from the Israeli occupation.

Thursday's resolution does not only target Hamas, he said, but rather multinational support for the Palestinian people. 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 United Nations 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 USA resolution would "undermine the two-state solution which we aspire to". He said it would also turn attention away from Israel's "occupation" of Palestinian territories.

Haniyeh also appreciated the efforts put in by the Palestinian Authority through its ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour, pointing out that the rejection of the US-drafted resolution strongly indicated that national concern is capable of uniting the Palestinian nation in facing of ongoing challenges.

"We must never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon or a nuclear bomb - we can not let the world's leading sponsor of terror, a regime that chants death to America and threatens Israel all of the time with annihilation and constantly screams out death to Israel, to possess the deadliest weapon on earth", urged the president. Germany voted in favor of the draft resolution.

The European Union, like the United States, considers Hamas a terror group.

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