The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the besieged Gaza Strip. The resolution, forward by Algeria and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions on Wednesday.
The resolution calls on UN 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.”
It also 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.” At least 131 Palestinians have been killed and 13,900 others wounded by Israeli forces since March 30, when the regime ordered a crackdown on weekly Gaza rallies promoting Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland. Countries in favor of the measure turned to the General Assembly after the US used its veto in the Security Council to obstruct the resolution in June.
An amendment presented by Washington slamming Palestinian resistance movement Hamas for “inciting violence” in Gaza failed to gain the two-thirds majority it required. The amendment received 62 votes in favor, with 58 against and 42 abstentions. Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour dismissed the US amendments as “games and gimmicks” and called for other ambassadors not to be “fooled” by Washington’s proposal.
“We are asking for a simple thing…We want our civilian population to be protected,” he said.
Turkey’s Ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu defended the resolution, saying it was “about taking sides with international law” and showing the Palestinians that the world “does care about their suffering.” The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds. The bloodshed in Gaza sparked sharp criticism from the international community and prominent human rights groups.