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What’s next after trying to blame the victim in the General Assembly?

December 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech during the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, US on 27 September 2018 [Thaer Ghanaim/Palestinian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

The world must forget its commitments to rights and justice, its obligations under international law, the Quartet’s promises to establish a “viable and independent Palestinian state”. An end must be put to the repeated condemnations directed at the Israeli occupation and its constant attacks and violations, including killing peaceful demonstrators participating in the mass protests on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip and the rampant settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

For this reason, the Trump administration called for a vote on a carefully crafted draft resolution to divert attention away from the essence of the Palestinian cause and to try to blame the victim. It aims to overturn the agenda and mix up all the playing cards suddenly, in order to portray the problem as being the Palestinian people, not the occupation and its consequences.

The world was asked to vote in the General Assembly on 6 December to respond to a biased and essentially subjective question from the United States. They were forced to decide under intense pressure and orders, which some states were forced to comply with based on the wishes of the United States, and perhaps some were subject to light exploitation and promised political support or aid.

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The draft resolution is formulating in a very misleading manner. It speaks superficially of condemning Hamas to avoid openly criticising the Palestinian people and their overall resistance and it absolves the Israeli occupation of its fundamental responsibility for the situation.

It seems that this is an attempt by the American administration to avenge its bruised ego after the embarrassments it faced over an entire year. Its new move to vote is occurring to coincide with the first anniversary of Trump’s announcement recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decision to move the American embassy to the city, something avoided by previous administrations. The Trump administration found itself alone after making this biased decision, as the world was asked to announce its position on the matter in a vote in January 2018. The Trump administration was shown to be internationally isolated in its decision towards Jerusalem. There was a vote yesterday in which the discussion was directed at a completely different arena: the Palestinian resistance’s response to the Israeli bombings and the launch of incendiary kites and balloons from the Gaza Strip.

US embassy might be moved to Jerusalem – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The drafting of the US draft resolution was in a manner that focused attention on a specific part of its context, drawing the world into a debate outside the core issue. It was clear that many of the countries defending the Palestinians’ inalienable rights would be silenced or embarrassed by this unimaginative trick. Yesterday’s vote, however, led to a new disappointment for Trump’s administration, despite all the hard work they had put in over the past few days to win this round. This angered US Representative Nikki Haley, once again, and she stormed out of the room without voting on the Irish alternative.

In this critical round of voting, the world bypassed the US administration by requiring a two-thirds majority to approve its project. Moreover, 33 countries abstained from the vote while 57 countries voted against the resolution. Thus, the US-Israeli position was unable to pass a resolution favouring the occupation despite 87 countries backing it after an intensive mobilisation campaign that, at first glance, seemed to be a guaranteed success.

The US draft resolution fell in the General Assembly vote, but we must immediately steer the international debate regarding the Palestinian cause back to its logical priorities, which have been manipulated to portray the violent occupation as the defeated victim. The American action in the General Assembly ignored all that was issued by this UN council in the past on the question of Palestine, even the decision issued in October 2003 condemning the Separation Wall built by the occupation authorities in the West Bank and calling for its demolition. However, this resolution, like the many other related resolutions, has remained ink on paper.

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A few years ago, I met European diplomats who criticised the launching of “indiscriminate rockets” from the Gaza Strip, as was claimed at the time. I shared their concern about these “indiscriminate rockets” and asked them whether they believed the solution to the problem is to provide the Palestinians with very accurate weapons and ammunition and smart technologies such as those obtained by Israelis from Western countries. What happened in the American draft resolution that fell in the UN vote gives a different perception of the meaning of such criticism.

What happened in the international forum yesterday is that a major superpower, which gives its best weapons, ammunition and military expertise and technologies to an occupation government that commits war crimes, tried to lure the world into taking a stand against the people under occupation, as if they are supposed to hold flowers and sing about the beauty of life under Israeli bombing.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.