Palestinians seek UN vote against Israel for 'excessive use of force'
United Nations: The Palestinians and their supporters are hoping an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly on Thursday will adopt a resolution deploring what it calls Israel's "excessive use of force," particularly in Gaza, and seeking recommendations to protect Palestinian civilians. The US is demanding changes.
Arab and Islamic nations decided to go to the 193-member assembly, where there are no vetoes, following the US veto of virtually the same resolution in the Security Council on June 1. US Ambassador Nikki Haley called that Kuwait-sponsored resolution "grossly one-sided" for criticising the use of force by Israel while not mentioning the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza. Haley sent a letter to all UN member states on Wednesday calling the proposed General Assembly resolution "fundamentally imbalanced" for "ignoring basic truths about the situation in Gaza" and not mentioning Hamas.
She proposed an amendment condemning Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and inciting violence along the Gaza-Israel border fence, "thereby putting civilians at risk." The proposal also would condemn the diversion of resources in Gaza to building tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to fire rockets and express "grave concern" at the destruction of the Kerem Shalom crossing point to Israel "by actors in Gaza."
Haley said the amendment "is not controversial" and simply condemns "behaviour we should all recognise as harmful to the Palestinian people." The letter said the amendment would be voted on before the resolution. While Security Council resolutions are legally binding, General Assembly resolutions are not, although they do reflect international