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US isolated at UN, vetoes popular resolution and finds no backers for anti-Hamas bill

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (L) attends a meeting that gathered to hold a vote on a resolution condemning April 4 chemical attack in Syria's Idlib on April 12, 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York City, United States [Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu Agency]
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (L) attends a meeting to hold a vote on a resolution condemning April 4 chemical attack in Syria's Idlib on April 12, 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York City, United States [Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu Agency]

The United States vetoed on Friday a Kuwaiti-drafted UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians, underlining Washington’s differences with friends and foes alike over the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Later, a second, US-drafted resolution that blamed Hamas for the violence and upheld Israel’s right to defend itself failed to attract any other country’s support when it was put to vote in the 15-member council.

Blasting the council majority, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the two votes showed it was willing to blame Israel and unwilling to blame Hamas, the group that dominates Gaza.

“The terrorist group Hamas bears primary responsibility for the awful living conditions in Gaza,” Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, said ahead of the vote.

“It is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel,” she said in a statement.

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France, Russia, China, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Peru, Sweden, and Equatorial Guinea joined Kuwait in voting in favour of the first draft. Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and Ethiopia abstained. Only the United States voted against.

To be adopted, a Security Council resolution needs to receive at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by any of the permanent members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

Only the United States voted in favour of the second draft resolution, while there were three negative votes and 11 abstentions.

At least 116 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza border protests since March 30. The largest number of killings occurred on May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Amid international condemnation of its use of lethal force, Israel said many of the dead were militants and that the Israeli army was repelling attacks on the border fence between Israel and Gaza. Washington has maintained Israel’s right to defend itself and refrained from joining calls for Israeli restraint.

Palestinians and their supporters said most of the protesters were unarmed civilians and Israel was using excessive force against them.

Over the years, the United States has vetoed a number of Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. In December, it vetoed an Egyptian-drafted resolution calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to reverse its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

‘Hit me with your bullets. I am not afraid’ – Israel kills 21-year-old Palestinian nurse in Gaza

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