December 6, 2018, marks the day the United Nations General Assembly (“UNGA”) infamously sold its soul to evil by failing to agree on whether a resolution condemning Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza required two-thirds – or simple – majority vote.
December 6, 2018 also happened to be the first anniversary of President Trump’s announcement of America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the intended relocation of America’s Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
December 6, 2018 was also the fourth day of the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah marking the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following the Jews uprising against their Greek-Syrian oppressors.
America had submitted draft resolution A/73/L.42 (“L. 42”)to the UNGA on 29 November 2018:
- Condemning Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk;
- Demanding that Hamas and other militant actors, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices;
- Condemning the use of resources by Hamas in Gaza to construct military infrastructure, including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas, when such resources could be used to address the critical needs of the civilian population;
“The representative of Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said the situation in the Middle East is directly linked to international peace and security. He condemned Israeli policies that violate international humanitarian law and the Charter of the United Nations and requested a vote to apply the two‑thirds majority rule for the adoption of draft “L.42”.The Assembly then voted to apply the two‑thirds majority requirement by a very narrow simple majority margin of 75 in favour, 72 against, with 26 abstentions.
The representative of the United States said a simple majority is required for adoption of the resolution. She called for fairness in the United Nations and said action on the draft was about “doing what is right”. “The General Assembly has never uttered a word in any resolution about Hamas,” she said. The decision to adopt the text by a two‑thirds majority is based on a desire to have the resolution fail. She urged all States to vote against the motion.
Those favouring a two-thirds majority vote included 44 out of 56 Islamic States – whilst one (Albania) voted against, 5 abstained and 6 did not vote.
Non-Islamic States supporting the Islamic States bloc included: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Japan, Nicaragua, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
All 21 member States of the European Union supported America’s simple majority stance.
Others backing America included: Australia, Bosnia, Canada, Colombia, Estonia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, Slovakia, Ukraine and Uruguay.
L 42 was then passed by the UNGA by 87 votes for, 57 against and 33 abstentions – but was declared lost because it had not secured the two-thirds majority required.
The Islamic States had secured a three-vote procedural victory – setting a precedent that is bound to be attempted again.
Hamas and other militant groups remain free to engage in heinous conduct found worthy of UN condemnation by a majority of UN member states.
The foundational basis of the UN – maintaining international peace and security – has been flagrantly circumvented by the UNGA failing to agree on how to run its own meetings.
Such is the depth of total irrelevance to which the UN has sunk.
(Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog)