UNGA condemns 'acts of terror' by extremist Israeli settlers

The global body approved six anti-Israel resolutions on Thursday.

The United Nations General Assembly votes to adopt a draft resolution to deplore the use of excessive force by Israeli troops against Palestinian civilians at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., June 13, 2018  (photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)
The United Nations General Assembly votes to adopt a draft resolution to deplore the use of excessive force by Israeli troops against Palestinian civilians at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., June 13, 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)

The UN General Assembly approved 146-7 a resolution that condemned “acts of terror by several extremist Israeli settlers.”

There were also 20 abstentions to that resolution titled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem and the Occupied Golan.”

The resolution was part of a package of six anti-Israel texts the UNGA approved Thursday that condemned Israeli settlement activity, called for a withdrawal from the Golan Heights, and affirmed the work of UNRWA.

The text on settlements issued a general call against terror, stating that the UNGA “condemned acts of violence and terror against civilian on both sides and recalling the need to end all acts of violence, including act of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction.”

But while the resolution spoke a number of times about violence by Israeli settlers, at no point did it specially condemn Palestinian terror or even violence against Israelis.

An Israeli representative took the GA to task on this issue.

 Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem and the Occupied Golan (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT) Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem and the Occupied Golan (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT)

“These resolutions chose to prioritize demonizing Israel while entirely failing to condemn let alone mention [Palestinian] terrorist activity,” she told the GA. “They fuel action and they cost lives.”

She reminded the GA that Israelis in past weeks had been “victims of another wave of terror under a series of shootings and stabbing attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists….

“Instead of denouncing this heinous act of terror, this assembly passed resolutions exclusively condemning Israel. This is just another example of the infamous double standard reality that Israel faces daily in the halls of the UNGA.”

Those countries opposing the text were Canada, Hungary, Israel, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and the US.Twenty-four of the EU’s 27 member states supported the text. The Czech Republic and Slovenia, which voted last year in favor of the text, changed their vote this year and abstained, as did the non-EU states of Ecuador, Fiji and Zambia. Last year the resolution passed 150-7, with 17 abstentions.

The resolution also reaffirmed that the Israeli settlements “including east Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal and an obstacle to peace and economic and social development.”

The text calls on all states “not to recognize and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by measures that are illegal under International law, including those aimed at advancing annexation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”

The six resolutions approved on Thursday were part of a package of 14 texts on Israel that the GA plans to pass by the end of the year.

The least popular of the six texts was the resolution affirming the “work of the special committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people.”

 UNGA vote on the Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People, with 80 in favor, 18 against, and 73 abstentions (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT) UNGA vote on the Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People, with 80 in favor, 18 against, and 73 abstentions (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT)

It was approved 80-18, with 73 abstentions, a tally that showed it had less than the majority support of the current 193 UN member states. However, the decision to abstain rather than reject the text by the bulk of its opponents, including most EU nations, ensured its passage.

The same text was approved last year 77-14, with 83 abstentions. The countries that changed their vote and abstained this year were Austria, Dominican Republic, Micronesia, the Philippines, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

Those opposed were Australia, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, and the United States.

Two countries that opposed the resolution last year, Nauru and Papa New Guinea, were absent from the vote this year.

The resolution “condemns and calls for the immediate cessation of all illegal Israeli settlement activities and the construction of the wall, the lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, as well as the complete cessation of the excessive and indiscriminate use of force and military operations against the civilian population, settler violence, provocation and incitements regarding the holy places, the destruction and confiscation of properties, the forced displacement of civilians, the detention and imprisonment of thousands of civilians and all measure of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population.”

The text with the largest support was a resolution that called for financial assistance to Palestinian refugees through funds funneled to UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

  UNGA vote on Assistance to Palestinian Refugees  (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT) UNGA vote on Assistance to Palestinian Refugees (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT)

The resolution affirmed “the necessity for the continuation of the work of UNRWA for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the importance of its unimpeded operation and its provision of services, including emergency assistance, for the well-being, protection and human development of the Palestine refugees and for the stability of the region, pending the just resolution of the question of the Palestine refugees.”

The resolution passed 164-1, with 10 abstentions. Israel was the only country that opposed the resolution, which is viewed as the most benign of all the texts, despite its affirmation of the right of return for Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel by calling for the implementation of paragraph 11 of Resolution 194.

The resolution noted with “regret that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine has been unable to find a means of achieving progress in the implementation of paragraph 11, of General Assembly resolution 194 (III), and reforms its request to the conciliation Commission to continue exerting efforts toward the implementation.”

THE US changed its voting pattern on this resolution this year, which the Trump administration had rejected. The Biden administration reverted to the Obama administration’s voting pattern on this text and abstained.

The nine other countries that abstained were Cameroon, Canada, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Rwanda, Uruguay and Zambia.

A similar resolution affirming the work of UNRWA was approved 162-5, with six abstentions.

The countries that opposed the text were Canada, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and the US. Australia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Rwanda, Uruguay and Zambia abstained.

 Operations of the UNRWA for Palestine Refugees in the Near East  (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT) Operations of the UNRWA for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT)

The resolution “reaffirms the Agency’s important role in providing humanitarian and development assistance to Palestinian refugees.” It also expressed “grave concern about the attempt to discredit the Agency despite its proven operational capacity.”

Another resolution, “Palestinian refugees, their properties and their revenues,” was approved 159-5, with eight abstentions.

The resolution “Reaffirms that the Palestinian refugees are entitled to their property and to the income derived therefore in conformity with the principles of equality and justice.”

UNGA vote on Palestinian refugees, their properties and their revenues (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT)UNGA vote on Palestinian refugees, their properties and their revenues (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT)

The last resolution, which called for the Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, was approved 149-2, with 23 abstentions. Both Israel and the US opposed the text, the EU supported it, while Canada and Australia abstained.

The same text last year passed 151-3, with 20 abstentions. Liberia in 2020 opposed the text, while this year it was absent for the vote.

In denouncing the resolutions, the Israeli representative said that “they make up a harmful package with a clear end goal: the denial of Israel’s right to exist as a secure prosperous democratic state.”

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and applied sovereignty to it in 1981. The US recognized that sovereignty in 2019, but it is the only country to do so.

The UN resolution asked Israel to rescind that sovereignty, and stated that “Israel’s decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect.”

 UNGA vote on the ''Occupied Syrian Golan'' (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT) UNGA vote on the ''Occupied Syrian Golan'' (credit: UN WEB TV/SCREENSHOT)