United Nations rejects first attempt to condemn Hamas

Vote condemning Hamas for firing rockets into Israel fails at UN

Vote condemning Hamas for firing rockets into Israel fails at UN

A US -sponsored draft resolution that for the first time would have condemned the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls Gaza, failed to win the required two-thirds majority in the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

The US 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.

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon lamented after the vote that a decision to condemn Hamas had been "hijacked" by a procedural motion that required adoption by a two-thirds majority, instead of a simple majority.

Ahead of the vote, Haley accused those pushing for that threshold of double standards and noted that the United Nations had never once condemned Hamas by name - despite passing 700 resolutions blasting Israel.

But before the vote on the US draft resolution, Bolivian Ambassador Sasha Llorentty Soliz withdrew the amendment.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the assembly before the vote that it could make history and unconditionally speak out against Hamas, which she called "one of the most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world".

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that although the two-thirds was not achieved, this was the first time there was a "sweeping majority of countries " who had stood up against Hamas.

"Israel is in contravention of all Security Council and General Assembly resolutions", its representative said.

U.S. envoy Nikki Haley had said adoption would right a "historic wrong" as the United Nations has not passed such a condemnation.

She also posed the question of the resolution in stark terms: "The question before us now is whether the United Nations thinks terrorism is acceptable if, and only if, it is directed against Israel".

The results of a vote are seen on display boards at the General Assembly hall, on December 21, 2017, at UN Headquarters in NY.

"The General Assembly has never said anything - not one thing - about Hamas, even when we all agree Hamas' behavior undermines any prospects for peace". Support from the Arab states is considered crucial to getting it launched, and the United Nations vote suggests it might get a standoffish reception.

"The broad support from the world demonstrates the changes we have made in the UN", Danon said.

Both Israel and the United States exerted considerable effort to convince Arab states to join in a straightforward condemnation of Hamas, calling a denouncement of terrorism a basic building block for peace talks.

Diplomats from nine Arab countries were sent letters by Jason Greenblatt, the White House envoy who is working with Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, on the administration's peace proposal.

In a symbolic stride, the US resolution did garner support by a majority of members, but failed because it required a supermajority.

Last month saw a flare-up of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

"The UN has a chance to condemn Hamas for the first time", Haley tweeted Thursday.

"The resolution itself was just transparently Israeli talking points - it didn't mention the military occupation, the siege of Gaza, Israel's daily attacks against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank".

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