Palestinians Push for UN Vote on Israel's Use of 'Indiscriminate Force' in Gaza

Nikki Haley defends Israel ahead of UN vote, saying resolution on Gaza, which U.S. shot down at Security Council, is 'fundamentally imbalanced'

Israeli soldiers are seen on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
\ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

The Palestinians and their supporters are asking an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to adopt a resolution deploring what it calls Israel's "excessive use of force," particularly in Gaza.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has urged countries to condemn Hamas instead of voting for the resolution, which she called "fundamentally imbalanced."

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The UN General Assembly is due to meet and hold a vote on an Arab-backed text on Gaza at the request of the UN's Palestinian delegation and their Arab and Muslim allies. Arab and Islamic nations decided to go to the 193-member assembly, where there are no vetoes, after the U.S. vetoed virtually the same resolution in the Security Council on June 1

The draft General Assembly resolution demands that Israeli forces stop "any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force." It calls for "immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip."

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaking during a Security Council meeting on May 17, 2018.
Mary Altaffer/AP

It also "deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas," but doesn't say who is doing the firing.

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The draft asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days "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."

Haley called the proposed resolution "a fundamentally imbalanced text that ignores basic truths about the situation in Gaza," in a letter to UN ambassadors seen by dpa on Tuesday.

She urged member states to support a U.S. amendment, which would be voted on separately beforehand and condemns the Islamist group Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip.

"If we are to truly work for the protection of the Palestinian people, the international community must condemn the malign behavior of Hamas without delay," the letter reads.

The U.S. amendment is "not controversial," Haley wrote, but rather simply condemns "behavior we should all recognize as harmful to the Palestinian people."

Whereas Security Council votes are binding, General Assembly resolutions carry no legal weight.

Since March 30, scores of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in demonstrations largely organized by Hamas along Gaza's border with Israel.