UNITED NATIONS, June 13 (Xinhua) — UN General Assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution that urges protection of Palestinian civilians, after rejecting a U.S. demand to add a condemnation of attacks on Israel by Hamas.
The Arab-backed resolution passed by a vote of 120-8 with 45 abstentions.
It reiterates the need to take steps “to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and ensure their protection, as well as to ensure accountability for all violations.” in the context of recent escalation of conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.
Also, the text deplores “the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.”
Initially sponsored by Algeria, Turkey and the Palestinians, the resolution got sponsorship from more countries announced shortly before its vote.
The General Assembly resolution expresses strong political will of the international community, though, unlike a Security Council resolution, it is not legally binding.
Prior to the vote, the General Assembly cast ballots on the U.S.-drafted amendment aiming to condemn Gaza’s Hamas rulers, which won a simple majority but fell short of two thirds of the votes required for its passage.
The amendment condemns Hamas for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel” and “inciting violence along the boundary fence, thereby putting civilians at risk.”
Making a case for the amendment, U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the resolution was “one-sided,” and held Hamas “completely unaccountable” and blamed everything on Israel.
The Gaza-Israel border saw an escalation of violence after the Palestinians launched the “Great March of Return” protests in late March. The campaign, lasting through mid-May, demanded the Palestinian refugees’ right to return home.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent observer to the UN, said before the General Assembly that 129 Palestinian protesters were killed, including 16 children, and 13,000 more injured in clashes with Israeli forces.