A US attempt to get the United Nations to condemn Hamas, the Palestinian group administering the besieged Gaza Strip, failed on Thursday.
The resolution required two-thirds support and while Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they can carry political weight. The US text received 87 votes in favor, 58 against, 32 abstentions and 16 countries did not vote, Reuters reported.
In an earlier procedural move requested by Kuwait, the 193-member body narrowly voted to require two-thirds support and not a simple majority for adoption of the draft resolution.
Outgoing US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had written to member states on Monday to urge them to vote for the US-drafted text, warning them: “The United States takes the outcome of this vote very seriously.”
The United States is working on a long-awaited plan to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but the Palestinians are skeptical and have accused the Trump administration of siding with Israel on core issues.
Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said that “rejecting the American drafted resolution against the resistance represents a blow to the American administration and reaffirms the legitimacy of the resistance.”
Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said the countries that rejected the draft resolution should be ashamed.
For more than a decade Gaza has been controlled by Hamas. The economy has collapsed, creating what the World Bank describes as a humanitarian crisis with shortages of water, electricity and medicine under Israeli blockage.
Iran’s Deputy UN Ambassador Es’haq Al-e Habib accused the United States of trying to deflect the attention of the world from the root causes of the conflict and said “we recognize Hamas as a legitimate resistance movement fighting for the liberation of Palestinian territory from foreign occupation.”
Iran described the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories as the root of all existing conflicts and crises in the Middle East region, Press TV reported.
The proposed resolution, he said in a statement addressed to the UN on Thursday, "indicates the real nature of the US foreign policy concerning the Palestinians, which is essentially based on deceit, complete ignorance of Palestinians' rights, and also unconditioned and invariable support for Israel."
"The draft resolution is predicated on deception since it totally ignores the root of the conflict, namely the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel over the past decades."
Al-e Habib said it never mattered in the same pro-Israel US foreign policy what crimes would be perpetrated against the Palestinians, how many Palestinian children would be killed, or what brutality and inhumane treatment would they be subjected to the Palestinians.
Al-e Habib said Israel's settlement activities showed that "it has never had any intention for or interest in peace with the Palestinians". He also criticized the regime's "unprecedented" measures aimed at speeding up Judaization of Al-Quds. Efforts, that he said, included changing the holy occupied city's demographic structure as well as its religious and cultural identity by destroying Muslim and Christian religious symbols there.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the official pointed out that Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip had turned the Palestinian coastal territory into a "stifling and uninhabitable prison." The blockade amounted to "collective punishment" of the enclave's entire territory, he added.
More than 160 Palestinians have died during Israel's suppression of anti-occupation Palestinian protests in Gaza since March, he reminded.