Why UN failure to condemn Hamas matters

TURTLE BAY: A United Nations resolution that would have condemned militant group Hamas and its terror attacks on Israel failed to pass on Thursday.  The resolution, drafted and pushed by the U.S., received 87 votes in favor, 57 against, and 33 abstentions, falling short of the required two-thirds majority. The vote was a major blow to outgoing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and the Trump administration.

Ambassador Nikki Haley’s impassioned plea before the vote: “I want to take a personal moment and ask my Arab brothers and sisters: is the hatred that strong? Is the hatred toward Israel so strong that you’ll defend a terrorist organization, one that is directly causing harm to the Palestinian people? Isn’t it time to let that go?” [Video]

Why it matters: “The vote was a personal defeat for Haley in what is likely to be one of her final major actions as the U.S. envoy… It also represented a political disappointment for the Trump administration, which had lobbied hard to get many Arab states to break away from their routine support of the Palestinian position… But all the Arab states voted against it… Their refusal to back the U.S. resolution comes just weeks before the White House is prepared to unveil a proposal to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Support from the Arab states is considered crucial to getting it launched, and the U.N. vote suggests that it might get a standoffish reception.” [WashPost]

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro tells us: “Although the resolution did not pass, it got a strong showing of 87 votes. That is to the administration’s credit. Hamas deserves every ounce of condemnation it gets for its terror and commitment to Israel’s destruction, and it was appropriate to seek that condemnation at the UN. Arab states, many of whom despise Hamas and know it contributes to Palestinian suffering, voted against it, which is disappointing but not surprising. There are political risks that they won’t take when it involves the Palestinians, even when they see Israel as a partner, which reminds us to avoid irrational exuberance about prospects for normalization.”

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, emails us: “I applaud Nikki Haley, whose initiative led to the first-ever majority of countries voting for a UN resolution to condemn the Hamas terrorist organization. And I condemn the actions of Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand, whose abstentions on a PLO-backed procedural maneuver paved the way for an unusual two-thirds requirement to be imposed on the U.S. resolution against Hamas, thereby blocking its adoption. And Ireland should also be ashamed of itself for sponsoring what will be this year’s 21st resolution criticizing Israel. The UN’s pathological obsession with demonizing the Jewish state only undermines the world body’s claim to speak for universal standards.”

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