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A majority of countries were expected to support a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Hamas on Thursday, but it was not clear whether the motion would be adopted by the world body because of a last-minute procedural move by the Palestinians to demand that it pass by a two-thirds majority.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post prior to the vote – which took place after the Post went to print – that the American-sponsored resolution had the votes to pass by a simple majority.
Danon said the Palestinian demand for the resolution to pass by a two-thirds margin shows their level of concern at the precedent of the UN General Assembly – which is widely viewed as their “home court” – passing a resolution against them.
A vote on whether to necessitate a two-thirds majority was to precede the vote on the actual resolution itself.
Danon said that the Palestinian Authority enlisted Iran and Turkey in recent days to pressure other countries not to support the motion.
This pressure, he said, included threats of economic retaliation against countries not voting against the resolution. He did not give any specifics, but added that the Arab League was also enlisted to lobby against the motion.
“I spoke to one government head who said he got telephone calls pressuring him from Iran, and the Arab League,” Danon said. “Iran and Turkey have influence in certain regions.”
Danon said he has had discussions with some of the Arab ambassadors in the UN, and they are unhappy with the support Hamas is getting from Tehran, and the fact that the PA is cooperating with Iran, seen by some of these countries – such as Saudi Arabia – as their mortal enemy.
“But, having said that, in a public vote on this matter it will be difficult for them to support a resolution against Hamas, even though I know what they really think,” he said.
Danon said there has been a great deal of cooperation with the US in capitals around the world to mobilize support for the measure.
Prior to the vote, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tweeted that “this afternoon, the UN will vote on a US resolution that asks a simple question: do countries support Hamas’s terrorism, or don’t they? The UN has a chance to condemn Hamas for the first time. If the UN fails to do so, its lack of credibility will speak for itself.”
Last June, 62 countries voted for a US-backed amendment condemning Hamas, 58 opposed it and 42 abstained.
The amendment in June was to a resolution that condemned Israel for the Gaza violence and called for protection for the Palestinian civilian population. The amendment garnered a majority, but failed to pass because it did not pass the two-thirds threshold.
Thursday’s resolution condemned Hamas for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk,” and demanded that Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other militant actors “cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices.”
It also condemned Hamas for the use of resources “to construct military infrastructure, including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas, when such resources could be used to address the critical needs of the civilian population.”
The resolution also encouraged “tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation, including support of the mediation efforts of Egypt, and concrete steps to reunite the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority and ensure its effective functioning in the Gaza Strip.”
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