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UN ignores Trump administration spin, blames Israel for Gaza violence

Still, Israel and the U.S. try to snatch victory from the the jaws of defeat.

Results are shown of the vote, to condemn Israeli actions in Gaza, in the General Assembly June 13, 2018 in New York.  CREDIT: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images.
Results are shown of the vote, to condemn Israeli actions in Gaza, in the General Assembly June 13, 2018 in New York. CREDIT: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images.

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday approved a resolution blaming Israel for the violence and deaths in Gaza from March through May, slamming its “excessive use of force.”

Roughly 130 Palestinians — most of them unarmed, according Gaza’s medical authorities — were killed during mass protests against Israeli occupation. More than 3,000 were injured, many seriously, with “butterfly” bullets that can shatter limbs upon impact.

While supporting the Palestinian-backed resolution, the 193-member body also rejected a U.S. demand to condemn Hamas — Gaza’s ruling party — for its attacks on Israel.

This, despite non-stop messaging being hammered by Israel and the United States that the Palestinians protesting were all there at the beckoning of Hamas “terrorists;” that they were willing to martyr themselves for publicity, and that the Israeli soldiers had no choice but to fire at them with live rounds.

But that rhetoric had no purchase at the U.N. General Assembly this week. The fact is, Palestinian-backed resolutions don’t stand a chance in the U.N.’s Security Council, where the United States is a permanent member and is not shy about using its veto power on any document that attempts to hold Israel accountable for anything.

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It’s worth noting here that U.N. Security Council resolutions are legally binding and those of the General Assembly (such as the one condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem) are not.

Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon was outraged at Wednesday’s vote, saying it was a “badge of shame for the U.N.”

Like his U.S. counterpart, Ambassador Nikki Haley, Dannon still tried to put a positive spin on things by saying that Israel had “proved today that the automatic majority against Israel in the U.N. is not destiny and can be changed.”

Here’s what actually happened: The U.S.-proposed amendment blaming Hamas for the violence got 62 votes in favor (with 58 against and 42 abstentions). But what’s needed for the amendment to pass is a two-thirds majority. Not ready to give up, Haley appealed. Her appeal was put to a vote and lost.

It wasn’t the first time Haley begged her fellow ambassadors to join her in condemning Hamas:

On Wednesday, Haley somehow ignored the fact that 120 countries had voted in favor of the resolution blaming Israel (with a mere eight opposing and 45 abstaining), and she took to Twitter, spinning the developments to claim some kind of victory.

While her statement on Gaza highlighted some of the difficulties Gazans experience — electricity shortages and unemployment — Haley totally absolved Israel from any responsibility in these issues.

Instead, she placed the blame for “running Gaza into the ground” on Hamas:

When Haley mentioned Hamas as the government running Gaza, she used the term “de facto” to describe the party’s position. Hamas was, in fact, elected.

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Meanwhile, rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, say that Israel’s repeated use of excessive force against civilians might amount to war crimes.