General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Protecting Palestinian Civilians Following Rejection of United States Amendment to Condemn Hamas Rocket Fire

GA/12028
13 June 2018
Tenth Emergency Special Session, 38th Meeting (PM)

General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Protecting Palestinian Civilians Following Rejection of United States Amendment to Condemn Hamas Rocket Fire

‘We Cannot Remain Silent’ in Face of Recent Gaza Violence, Palestine Observer Says

In an emergency meeting, the General Assembly today adopted a resolution deploring the use of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly the Gaza Strip.

By the text titled “Protection of the Palestinian civilian population” — adopted by a vote of 120 in favour to 8 against with 45 abstentions — the Assembly demanded that Israel refrain from such actions and fully abide by its legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949.

It also deplored the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli civilian areas — and any actions that could endanger civilian lives — and called for urgent steps to ensure an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, as well as for the exercise of maximum restraint by all parties.  It requested the Secretary-General to submit a report in no later than 60 days, outlining proposals on ways and means for ensuring the safety of Palestinian civilians, including on an international protection mechanism.

The resolution was adopted following the Assembly’s rejection of a United States-sponsored amendment — by a vote of 78 against to 59 in favour, with 26 abstentions — which would have condemned Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and inciting violence along the boundary fence.  It would have demanded that Hamas cease all violent activity and expressed grave concern over the destruction of the Kerem Shalom crossing by actors in Gaza.

Introducing the proposed amendment, the United States delegate said the resolution, presented by Algeria’s delegate, had failed to even mention Hamas, sacrificing honesty in favour of a narrow political agenda that exclusively blamed Israel in what had become a favourite political sport.  The modest amendment rightly condemned rocket fire by Hamas, as well as its diversion of resources from civilians to military resources.  “It is the least that any self-respecting international organization or nation can do for the cause of peace,” she said.

Algeria’s representative, introducing the resolution, said Israel had not only set aside its responsibilities under international law, it had purposely violated those obligations.  “They have, in a premeditated way, harmed Palestinians, denying them their basic rights,” he stressed.  “Vote for rights, peace and stability in all of the Middle East,” he said.

Bangladesh’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the Security Council’s failure to take action, due to a veto cast by a permanent member, had encouraged the occupying Power to continue its aggressions.  Without fear of accountability, Israeli forces had continued their brutality.

“By supporting this resolution, you are colluding with a terrorist organization and empowering Hamas,” said Israel’s representative, stressing that his country had the right to defend itself and asking Member States how they would react if 40,000 rioters attempted to flood their borders.  It was Hamas that decided when to attack, when to retreat and when to send its own people straight into harm’s way and even to their death.  Israel had taken many steps to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, while Hamas had spent countless resources on terrorism.  To those supporting today’s resolution, “you are the ammunition in Hamas’ gun; you are the warheads on Hamas’ missiles”, he said.

The Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine said Member States must do everything possible to uphold the collective obligation to protect civilians in all circumstances, including Palestinian civilians.  “We cannot remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people,” he stressed.  The text was balanced.  It had been forged after extensive negotiations during the preceding Security Council process, as well as follow-up consultations and good-faith outreach.  He rejected the “bad-faith” attempt to insert an amendment that would radically shift the focus away from the core objective of protecting civilians.

In other matters, the Assembly President took note of document A/ES-10/787, concerning Member States that were in arrears in the payment of financial contributions to the United Nations.  He also recalled that, at the thirty-seventh plenary meeting of the tenth emergency special session, the General Assembly decided to follow the provisions of resolution 72/2 by which the Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia were permitted to vote in the General Assembly until the end of its seventy-second session and to allow those Member States to vote at the emergency special session.

Also speaking today were representatives of Turkey, Venezuela (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Bolivia and South Africa, as well as the European Union and the Holy See.

Speaking in explanation of vote were the representatives of Switzerland, Norway, Australia, Czechia, Iran, New Zealand, Mexico, United Kingdom, Argentina, Guatemala, Canada, Iceland and Singapore.

Action

SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria), introducing the draft resolution on the Protection of the Palestinian civilian population (document A/ES-10/L.23), said the situation represented a major threat to international peace and security.  “I will not quote the terrifying numbers of the dead and wounded,” he emphasized, adding that Israel’s aggressions had not spared children, women, the elderly, nurses or humanitarian workers.  Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year old Palestinian nurse, was shot dead at the Gaza Border where she had worked to save the wounded.  Israel had not only set aside its responsibilities under international law, it had purposely violated those obligations.  “They have, in a premeditated way, harmed Palestinians, denying them their basic rights,” he stressed.

The draft resolution was merely reminding the international community of its responsibility to provide civilians protection in times of conflict, he continued.  It stressed the need to ensure the well-being and safety of civilians, and called for holding all violators accountable.  The draft also called for utmost restraint and calm by all parties, as well as for immediate steps to stabilize the situation on the ground and end the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel.  Given the Security Council’s inability to uphold its responsibility, the international community was called upon to redouble its efforts to end the Arab-Israeli conflict on the premise of setting up a Palestinian State based on relevant resolutions on international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative.

On behalf of the Arab Group, he expressed gratitude to Kuwait for recently tabling a similar resolution in the Security Council.  He called on all “peace loving” States to stand firmly on the side of the rule of law and to support the draft.  “Vote for rights, peace and stability in all of the Middle East,” he said.

NIKKI R. HALEY (United States), introducing her delegation’s proposed amendment to that draft resolution (document A/ES-10/L.24), said that today, demonstrations were taking place in Nicaragua, civilians peacefully protesting their Government in Iran had been arrested and the world’s worst humanitarian crisis continued to unfold in Yemen.  In Myanmar, almost a million civilians had been driven from their homes.  But the Assembly was not meeting in an emergency session on any of those situations.  “Instead, the General Assembly is devoting its valuable time to the situation in Gaza,” she said, asking what made that situation different from conflicts in other desperate places around the world.

The answer, she said, was that for many delegations, attacking Israel had become a “favourite political sport”.  Such one-sided resolutions as the one presented today, which failed to even mention Hamas, did nothing to advance peace.  Moreover, everyone knew its passage would accomplish nothing, and could even make peace less likely by feeding the narrative that Gaza’s leaders were not responsible.  It would also further stoke tensions in favour of a narrow political agenda, she said, emphasizing that “there are no perfect actors on either side”.  Israel had withdrawn completely from Gaza in 2005 and Hamas had been the de facto leader since 2007.  Eleven years later, the territory was stricken with poverty and had become a haven for terrorist activities.  Hamas and its allies had fired over a hundred rockets into Israel in just the last month, used civilians as human shields and refused to unite with the Palestinian Authority to pursue peace.

“We still have the opportunity to salvage something honest from this,” she said, stressing that the modest amendment proposed by the United States rightly condemned the firing of rockets by Hamas as well as its diversion of resources from civilians to military resources.  “It is the least that any self-respecting international organization or nation can do for the cause of peace,” she said, urging all Member States to vote in favour it.  Today’s vote would reveal which stories were serious about the cause of peace, and which were only bound by their political agendas.

RIYAD H. MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, said today’s initiative represented a genuine effort to address the recent violence and worsening conditions on the ground.  “It is firmly based on the belief that, by upholding shared responsibilities in line with the [United Nations] Charter, international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, we can contribute to the efforts to defuse tensions, de-escalate the situation, deter further violence and protect civilian lives,” he said.  His delegation’s decision to approach the Assembly had been prompted by the Security Council’s failure to act on the matter, due to the veto cast on 1 June by one of its permanent members.  The resolution submitted to the Council by Kuwait had been supported by the vast majority of its members, he said, adding that, on the heels of that regrettable vote, Palestinians had also marked the fifty-first anniversary of the Israeli occupation.  “This illegal, belligerent, military occupation is the primary source and root cause of the recurrent emergency crises we face,” he said.

While Palestine would have preferred that the Security Council uphold its duties, he said, the negative outcome had emboldened Israel’s impunity and forced his delegation to continue its efforts in the Assembly.  “We cannot remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people,” he said.  It was the international community’s duty to address all aspects of the crisis and the grave injustice and alleviate, in any way it could, the suffering of the Palestinian people.  The draft resolution before the Assembly today was rooted in international law and United Nations resolutions, both on the question of Palestine and on the protection of civilians, medics, humanitarian personnel and journalists.  It was a balanced text achieved after extensive negotiations during the preceding Security Council process, and the follow-up consultations and good-faith outreach seeking the support of all delegations.

“We therefore firmly reject the bad-faith attempt to insert an amendment that would radically unbalance the text and shift the Assembly’s focus away from the core objective of protecting civilians and upholding international law,” he said, calling on delegations to support the longstanding Palestinian cause, advance peace and support the work of United Nations agencies working to meet the needs of Palestinian civilians on the ground — particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).  Member States must do everything possible to uphold the collective obligation to protect civilians in all circumstances, including Palestinian civilians, and to avert further destabilization of the situation with a view to salvaging the prospects for peace.

Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu (Turkey) said his delegation had requested today’s emergency meeting following the Security Council’s failure to adopt a resolution that called for the protection of Palestinian civilians.  The draft before the General Assembly — co-tabled by Turkey in its capacity as Chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — was a call to all Member States to look for peaceful means to deter and prevent attacks on civilians.  “This draft resolution is not about taking sides,” he said, but rather supporting de-escalation on the ground, deterring violence and calling on the Secretary-General to recommend ways to protect civilians and end the loss of life.  It also sought collective responsibility in support of international law, in choosing the side of a credible peace process and in keeping hopes for peaceful coexistence alive.  “This is the right time to send a convincing signal to the Palestinian people that their legitimate aspirations are heard and that the international community does care about their suffering,” he said, adding that it was also the right time for the Assembly to restore the credibility of the United Nations and demonstrate that the acquis on the Palestinian issue was more than just words.

Through the draft resolution, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to make recommendations on an international protection mechanism to stop attacks on Palestinian civilians, he said, stressing that asking for United Nations action was about choosing multilateralism over unilateralism.  Only a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement — not unilateral decisions — would bring peace.  There was no alternative to the two-State solution.  Noting that one Member State had tabled an amendment as a way to sow confusion, he said today’s text had been carefully drafted through several rounds of Security Council negotiations.  The Council’s failure to act was the very reason the Assembly had taken up the issue, he said, calling on delegations to reject the proposed amendment, as the Council had done on 1 June, and to stand on the right side of history.

DANNY BEN YOSEF DANON (Israel) said he was here today to stand up for a basic right afforded to every country in the world: the right to defend its citizens.  The Assembly had convened two emergency sessions in the last six months, both on Israel.  Today’s meeting was about Israel’s right to defend itself.  “It is the international community’s attempt to take away that right,” he said, adding that the draft resolution protected neither Palestinians nor Israelis.  “By supporting this resolution, you are colluding with a terrorist organization and empowering Hamas,” he stressed.  Turkey and Algeria “were not exactly champions of human rights.”  The Palestinian rioters wanted to seize Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem and replace the Jewish State.  “We take them at their word,” he said, adding that the so-called “March of Return” was a violent attack on Israel.  Hamas was using children’s toys as weapons.  “How would you react if 40,000 rioters attempted to flood your borders,” he asked.  If the rioters had breached the wall, the world would have witnessed the death of many Israelis and Palestinians. 

It was time to expose the forces behind the situation in Gaza and draw a clear demarcation between right and wrong, he continued, reiterating that those who supported the resolution were directly supporting Hamas.  It was Hamas that decided when to attack, when to retreat and when to send its own people straight into harm’s way and even to their death.  Hamas had been recognized as a terrorist organization by many, including Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Egypt the United Kingdom and the United States.  The Assembly’s hypocrisy should come as no surprise, he said, recalling that it had called 10 emergency sessions since the founding of the United Nations.  Five had been on Israel.  The devastation in Syria, which had claimed half a million lives and displaced 7 million people, had never resulted in an emergency session of the Assembly.  “This type of worldwide assault is reserved only for Israel,” he said.  “It is anti-Semitism.”

He said Israel had taken many steps to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, while Hamas had spent countless resources on terrorism.  Yet, Hamas was not even mentioned once in today’s resolution.  He asked the ambassadors of Turkey, Algeria, Bangladesh, and Venezuela, authors of the resolution:  “Do you support terrorism?”  Israel wanted to help the civilians in Gaza but the situation at the border was clear.  Israel was a democracy defending itself.  Hamas was a terrorist organization attacking Israel.  The moral majority at the United Nations must not stand for that.  To those supporting today’s resolution, “you are the ammunition in Hamas’ gun; you are the warheads on Hamas’ missiles,” he said.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said members remained extremely alarmed about the grave situation resulting from Israel’s ongoing illegal and repressive policies and practices, including in recent weeks.  Israel’s occupying forces had continued with a violent onslaught against unarmed Palestinian civilians peacefully protesting Israeli occupation.  Condemning that unlawful use of force, he called for measures based on international law to ensure desperately needed international protection for the Palestinian people.  The Security Council’s failure to take action, due to a veto cast by a permanent member, had encouraged the occupying Power to continue its aggressions and had undermined serious efforts to address the crisis in a manner that would de-escalate tensions and protect civilians.  Without fear of accountability, Israel’s occupying forces had continued their brutality, killing and advancing settlement measures.

For its part, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab Group had embarked on a joint initiative in sponsoring the draft resolution, he said.  With its call on the Secretary-General to act, the initiative constituted a serious effort towards ensuring much-needed civilian protection in occupied territory.  Urging Member States to support the draft as an immediate contribution to deter violence against all civilians, de-escalate tensions and ensure calm and restraint, he said fulfilling those objectives was vital for creating an environment conducive to the advancement of a decades-long effort to achieve a just, lasting, comprehensive and peaceful solution and to realize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

SAMUEL MONCADA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, was “beyond critical,” with recent violence by Israel heightening tensions, hardship and despair — notably in Gaza.  In the context of peaceful protests, since 30 March, at least 125 civilians had been killed, including 15 children, and nearly 14,000 civilians injured by the occupying forces.  More than 60 of those fatalities had occurred on the same day, 14 May, as the unilateral and provocative move of the Embassy of the United States from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, while condemning Israel’s excessive and disproportionate use of force, had reiterated its support for an independent and transparent investigation into those killings and for international action to ensure accountability.  The international community must redouble efforts to achieve a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the question of Palestine, based on the two-State solution and pre-1967 borders, with a view to establishing an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He called for action by the Security Council to ensure accountability for — and a cessation of — violations committed by the occupying Power.  At the same time, the international community must ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  He expressed deep regret over the veto cast by the United States in the Security Council on a draft resolution aimed at addressing the recent violence.  Israel must fully abide by its obligations under international law, he said, adding that its blockade on the Gaza Strip “must end now”.  He appealed to all Member States to support today’s draft resolution, and called for full and effective implementation of all Council resolutions dealing with the question of Palestine.  Those resolutions were legally binding on all Member States, he said, stressing that the Council must uphold the United Nations Charter as well as its own resolutions to maintain its credibility.  “It is necessary to put an end, more than ever before, to the prolonged tragedy and suffering of the Palestinian people,” he said.

JOANNE ADAMSON, European Union, expressing deep alarm about the sharp escalation of violence in Gaza and the high number of Palestinians killed or injured as a result, underlined the pressing need for a political solution based on internationally agreed parameters and leading to a two-State solution.  “The Security Council has a responsibility for the peace process,” she said, calling on States to support all credible efforts to restart those negotiations.  Israel must respect the right to peaceful protests and ensure the use of proportional measures when protecting its legitimate security interests.  Urging all parties to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and act with utmost restraint, he said Israel’s security forces must refrain from the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians.  Lethal force should be exercised with maximum restraint and only as a last resort to protect life.  Those leading protests in Gaza, including Hamas and other groups, also had a responsibility to avoid provocations and ensure that they remained strictly non-violent.  Condemning the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, he underscored the European Union’s clear, consolidated position on Jerusalem as a final status issue, vowing to continue to respect the international consensus on that matter.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) said promises to create a free Palestine had yet to be fulfilled after 50 years of illegal occupation.  Parties were not on equal footing, with Israel being the occupying Power and the Palestinians living under siege.  The occupying Power had erected an annexation wall that had been declared illegal in 2004 by the International Court of Justice, built illegal settlements, prevented the return of 6 million Palestinian refugees to their homes, detained hundreds of boys and girls, established a crippling blockade and continued an illegal occupation of lands that did not belong to it.  Bolivia, as an elected Security Council member, had worked to address the issues.  However, the situation had only worsened because Israel had a right of veto, with the support of a permanent Council member.  The United States had most recently relocated its embassy to Jerusalem and had vetoed a draft resolution aimed at protecting Palestinian civilians.  Citing Noam Chomsky, he compared the United States’ relationship with Israel to its one with South Africa in the 1950s during apartheid.  What mattered was the diplomatic cover the United States provided to Israel to continue its occupation of Palestinian territory.  A negotiated two-State solution was the only way forward.

JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) said the occupation must end and protection must immediately be provided to civilians.  The Assembly must urgently do its part to ensure civilian protection, he said, highlighting that the Security Council’s inability to protect them did not absolve the entire international community from acting.  The Assembly must serve as the moral compass, he said, underlining the importance of Member States voting in favour of the draft resolution.  Based on international law, the draft also referred to civilian protection in armed conflict.  He also supported the Secretary-General’s suggestions on the ways and means for establishing a protection mechanism.  The only way to build lasting peace between Israel and Palestine was through a negotiated resolution of differences, including on East Jerusalem, he said, also appealing for Member States to support UNRWA.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, echoed Pope Francis’ concern about escalating tensions in the holy land and in the Middle East.  Reiterating its call for the courage to proceed with dialogue, he said there should be no doubt that the holy city of Jerusalem was a place of great religious significance not only for the inhabitants of the holy land, but also for the worshippers of the three monotheistic Abrahamic religions worldwide.  For that reason, the Holy See underscored the obligation of all nations to respect the historical status quo of the holy city, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.  Only an internationally guaranteed status could preserve its unique character and be an assurance of dialogue and reconciliation for peace in the region.

The representative of Algeria called for a no-action motion on the proposed amendment, which had been submitted by the United States but had not yet been distributed to Member States.  As such, it was not relevant to the draft resolution’s adoption.  All issues were covered in “L.23”, he said, emphasizing that the goal of the draft was solely civilian protection.  Therefore, he asked the Assembly to vote in favour of the proposed no-action motion.

The representative of Cuba expressed support for the no-action motion.  The United States’ proposed amendment destroyed the goal of the draft resolution and went against the objective of providing protection for the Palestinian people.

The representative of the United States said the attempt to obstruct the vote was shameful, adding that denying a vote at her delegation’s request would be the height of the General Assembly’s hypocrisy.  The amendment would condemn Hamas.  “What are you afraid of to vote on this amendment?” she asked.  Recalling the basic principle to consider all relevant matters brought up by Member States, she called on all to vote “no” on the no-action motion.

The representative of Bangladesh said he supported the no-action motion.  Attempts to shift responsibility and focus were not a genuine effort to improve L.23.  Bangladesh urged Member States to vote for the motion.

The representative of Canada expressed disappointment with the no-action motion.  Member States might have differing views, but Canada could not accept an attempt to prevent legitimate debate.  Canada would vote against.

The Assembly then rejected the motion to take no action on the proposed amendment (document A/ES-10/L.24), by a vote of 78 against to 59 in favour, with 26 abstentions.

It then took up the amendment (document A/ES-10/L.24), voting 62 in favour to 58 against, with 42 abstentions.

Mr. LAJČÁK, citing the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, said the Assembly did not adopt L.24 because it lacked the required two-thirds majority.

The representative of the United States, on a point of order, said that under rule 71 of the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, the required majority was a simple majority of those Member States present and voting.  She requested that the amendment be adopted.

The President of the General Assembly said that under rule 84, decisions by the Assembly on amendments to proposals relating to important questions required a two-thirds majority.  He had ruled accordingly.  However, the United States had appealed against his ruling.  Pursuant to rule 71, he said the appeal would be put to a vote.  His ruling would stand unless overruled by a majority of Member States present and voting.

The representative of the United States thanked the President for putting the appeal to a vote and requested that all delegations vote in favour of it.

The Assembly then took action on the United States’ appeal to the ruling of the General Assembly President on the majority required for the adoption of L.24, rejecting it by a vote of 73 against to 66 in favour, with 26 abstentions.

Finally, the Assembly took up L.23, adopting the resolution by a vote of 120 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Togo, United States), with 45 abstentions.

The representative of Switzerland, in an explanation of vote after the vote, said his delegation had voted in favour because it was important for the Assembly to support the protection of civilians as a matter of principle.  Condemning attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilian targets, he said Switzerland would have preferred a text that reflected the group’s responsibility.  For that reason, it had voted in favour of the United States amendment.

The representative of Norway said the resolution did not sufficiently reflect the complexities of the situation.  Hamas and other non-State militants had been omitted from the text, and for that reason, Norway had supported the United States’ amendment.  Israel’s right to protect its borders and territory had also been omitted, while the protection mechanism referred to in the text was vague and created unrealistic expectations.  Those shortcomings did not, however, outweigh the overall message of the resolution, and Norway therefore voted in favour.

The representative of Australia said the resolution failed to refer to Hamas by name or its role in the Gaza protests.  It also failed to mention Israel’s legitimate security concerns, while its reference to an international mechanism could raise expectations unrealistically.  For those reasons, Australia had voted against the resolution, but it remained committed to a two-State solution.

The representative of Czechia said her delegation had abstained because the text would not contribute to a much-need de-escalation of the situation.  An unbalanced message which did not mention the destructive role of Hamas would also not bring Israelis and Palestinians closer to the negotiating table, she added.

The representative of Iran said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution because the international community must focus its attention on addressing the continued killing of Palestinians.  Nowhere and under no circumstances were armed forces allowed to target a medical worker, but that had occurred, constituting a war crime.  The occupation must end and the Palestinians should be supported to establish their own State.  While the meeting today had shown support for them, the United States, by proposing an amendment, had supported Israel’s actions unconditionally.

The representative of New Zealand said his delegation voted in favour of the L.23 because it was deeply concerned about the high numbers of civilian deaths in Gaza.  However, Hamas must be held accountable for its actions.

The representative of Mexico said that while his delegation had abstained, it supported the Palestinian people and calls for a protection mechanism.

The representative of United Kingdom said while her delegation had abstained, it supported the two-State solution.  However, the draft was imbalanced.  She did not agree with the procedural decisions, noting that the majority of Member States had voted to condemn the actions of Hamas.

The representative of Argentina said international law must be respected fully, with all parties abstaining from attacks targeting civilians.  He appealed for urgent measures to be taken to end the suffering of civilians.  His delegation had abstained, but it advocated full respect for the Geneva Conventions by all parties.  A negotiated two-State solution was the only path leading towards fulfilling the Palestinian people’s aspirations and ending the conflict.

The representative of Guatemala condemned the violence, destruction and killings in Gaza.  However, L.23 was not balanced and failed to give the necessary conditions for achieving a just, lasting peace, he said, noting his delegation’s abstention on the draft.

The representative of Canada expressed concern that the resolution did not explicitly refer to Hamas and its role in recent violence.  For that reason, Canada had supported the United States’ amendment.  On the main text, he had hoped that it would have more clearly reflected the situation on the ground, and therefore he had abstained.

The representative of Iceland said Israel had a right to defend itself, but the exercise of that right must be proportionate.  Iceland supported an independent and transparent investigation into recent incidents, and urged Palestinian leaders not to inflame the situation further.  Iceland had voted in favour of the resolution, but it would have preferred a more balanced text, and thus had supported the United States’ amendment.

The representative of Singapore, which abstained, said the resolution did not sufficiently reflect the complex situation on the ground.  He urged all parties to exercise restraint and do their utmost to protect civilians on both sides of border while taking urgent steps to de-escalate the situation.

For information media. Not an official record.