UN Resolution condemns Israel for excessive use of force against Palestinians

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) condemned Israel on Wednesday by adopting an Arab sponsored Resolution for excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, particularly in the Gaza strip.

The Tenth Emergency Special Session resumed yesterday to consider a draft resolution entitled “Protection of the Palestinian civilian population”, at the request of Member States.

The UNGA approved the resolution by a vote of 120 to 8 in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions. Algeria and Turkey presented the measure for the Resolution on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries.  The countries that voted against the Resolution include  Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Togo, Israel and the United States.

Earlier on June 1, the United States used its veto in the Security Council to block the resolution forcing the Arab countries backing the measure to turn to the General Assembly. However, resolutions adopted by the assembly are non-binding, and there is no veto, unlike the Security Council.

The resolution condemned Israel’s use of “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force against civilian protesters, including children, as well as medical personnel and journalists”, and called for protection measures for Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.  The Resolution also called for the creation of a mechanism to ensure the “protection of the Palestinian civilian population” and urged Israel to lift its economic blockade on an area ruled by the militant group Hamas.

The United States attempted to include an amendment with a paragraph that would have condemned violence by Hamas but failed in its effort. Ahead of the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley denounced the nature of the draft resolution and told the Assembly that “The nature of this resolution clearly demonstrates that politics is driving the day. It is totally one-sided. It makes not one mention of the Hamas terrorists who routinely initiate the violence in Gaza”.

Before the vote, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon has come down heavily on those supporting the Resolution and told the General Assembly “by supporting this resolution you are colluding with a terrorist organisation, by supporting this resolution you are empowering Hamas”.

As per reports, at least 129 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during protests near the border with Gaza that began at the end of March. The demonstrators have been calling for a “right to return” to their ancestral homes which are now in Israel.

Yesterday, in a statement issued ahead of the General Assembly emergency session, the Human Rights Watch had said that the use of lethal force against Palestinian demonstrators by the Israeli military in Gaza might constitute war crimes.

The resolution asked Guterres to report back within 60 days on proposals “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation, including recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

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