How the U.N. missed a historic chance to condemn Hamas

Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon takes 'The Jerusalem Post' behind the scenes of how the U.N. operates, and at times, fails.

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December 8, 2018 11:23
4 minute read.
How the U.N. missed a historic chance to condemn Hamas

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Danny Danon speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at UN headquarters in New York, February 20, 2018. (photo credit: LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS)

 
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On Thursday, the UN considered a US-sponsored resolution that condemned Hamas. Although 87 countries – a record number – voted in favor, this was not enough to meet the two-thirds vote required for its passage.

The resolution failed because of procedural maneuverings on the part of many morally bankrupt countries that failed to affirm what is self-evident – Hamas is a terrorist organization whose actions deserve unequivocal condemnation.

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The effort to act against Hamas at the UN began as an attempt to correct the gross display that occurs every year at the UN on November 29, the anniversary of the 1947 vote that partitioned the Mandate for Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.

Instead of celebrating its role in helping establish the free and democratic State of Israel, for the past four decades the General Assembly has marked this date as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

On this day, the world’s nations publicly proclaim their pro-Palestinian bona fides while blaming Israel for all of the region’s ills and erasing the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. The result is a series of resolutions that lay the blame for the Palestinian people’s continued statelessness at the feet of Israel.

The US resolution was to be the important first step for the United Nations in declaring that it is in fact Hamas that is the threat to the Palestinian people and the stability of the region.

Never before has the General Assembly  adopted – let alone considered – a resolution that acknowledges the reality on the ground. In June, a plurality of member states supported a US amendment that condemned Hamas for its violent acts of terrorism during the so-called “Great March of Return.” Last week’s resolution built on the language and spirit of that amendment.

The US resolution served as a litmus test for the international community on a number of fronts, including that of antisemitism. At a time when the ever-present specter of antisemitism has, once again, become a deadly reality, the UN had the opportunity to take a unified stand against this age-old bigotry, as Hamas is one of the world’s greatest offenders of antisemitism: its charter calls for the destruction of Israel and for a genocide of the Jewish people. Hamas’s pursuit of its genocidal ambitions endangers civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian. Rather than using the medical supplies, construction materials and financial aid to improve the lives of the Palestinians under its control in the Gaza Strip, Hamas diverts these resources toward constructing terror tunnels, launching missiles and airborne incendiary devices, and building its military infrastructure for the purpose of attacking Israel.


Since 2001, Hamas has launched more than 13,000 rockets into Israeli population centers; that’s nearly three rockets per day for 17 years. As its rockets fall on homes and schools in Israel, Hamas terrorists use Palestinian civilians – including children – as human shields when carrying out attacks against our soldiers. Instead of building a better life for the Palestinians, Hamas aims to destroy the lives of Israelis.

It is clear why the United States, Israel, the European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and a handful of other countries have designated Hamas a terrorist organization. The question remains: why have more countries, and particularly the UN, not followed suit? It is unfortunate that the truth does not get the attention it deserves – or any attention, for that matter. Even though nearly 2 million Palestinians live under Hamas’s abusive governance in the Gaza Strip, an area it has controlled since 2007’s brutal civil war against the Palestinian Authority, Israel alone is blamed for their situation.

Developments leading up to the vote further demonstrated that truth is often stranger than fiction. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh wrote a protest letter – which included a clear call for violence against Israel – to the president of the General Assembly in anticipation of the US resolution. A terrorist organization pleading its case before the UN is akin to a serial killer asking the police for assistance. And in the days leading up to the vote, the PA chose to come to Hamas’s aid. Despite Hamas throwing Fatah officials off rooftops in Gaza in 2007, PA President Mahmoud Abbas still defended Haniyeh. Apparently, hatred for Israel is powerful enough to overcome even the most violent internal Palestinian rivalry.

The UN resolution to condemn Hamas was historic: 87 countries voted in favor of condemning the terrorist group, with US Ambassador Nikki Haley instrumental in helping form this unprecedented coalition that stood with Israel and against terrorism. And it was also necessary: it showed the world which countries support Hamas and which oppose terrorism, which countries make excuses for antisemitism and which are sincere in their efforts to combat it. It put the organization on notice that we will not give up the fight against it at the UN.

In the end, instead of issuing empty promises to combat antisemitism, making hollow statements of support for the Palestinian people, and incessantly blaming Israel, the UN could have taken the first step in recognizing that Hamas is the true threat to Israel and the Palestinian people, and finally condemned this terrorist organization.

The writer is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

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