Palestinians seek United Nations vote blaming Israel; US wants changes

Hundreds of Palestinians stage a protest in Ramallah against sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a Palestinian-backed resolution blaming Israel for violence in Gaza after narrowly rejecting a USA demand to add an amendment condemning attacks on Israel by Gaza's Hamas rulers.

The resolution deplores Israel's use of "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force" against Palestinian civilians and calls for protection measures for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. It also condemns the use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, and calls for Israel to open "access into and out of the Gaza Strip".

The vote came after a similarly drafted resolution failed at the U.N. Security Council because of a USA veto on June 1.

"The hypocrisy of the General Assembly knows no bounds, as anti-Israel elements deceitfully blocked the condemnation of Hamas, a murderous terrorist organization", Danon said in a statement.

A US bid to condemn Hamas, a Palestinian fundamentalist group, for attacks on Israel also received a majority vote in favor - 62-58 with 42 abstaining - but the president of the General Assembly rejected it because it didn't have the required two-thirds majority to pass.

The US is angrily condemning the resolution, with Nikki Haley declaring the resolution "morally bankrupt".

The European Union's ambassador Joanne Adamson, deputy head of the delegation to the United Nations said "Israeli security forces must refrain from the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians".

Before the vote, Haley sent a letter to ambassadors that said that rockets fired by Hamas at Israel incited the violence. He called the USA amendment a "bad-faith attempt" to shift the focus away from "the core objective of protecting civilians and upholding global law".

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"We need protection of our civilian population", Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour told the General Assembly before the vote, adding that the resolution was "intended to contribute to a de-escalation of the volatile situation".

Taking the podium, Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon assailed the measure as an "attempt to take away our basic right to self-defense". "Therefore we need a fundamental change in the rules of the game as well as the players".

A USA official also told Axios that the Trump administration wants to launch a peace plan when the circumstances are "right", and that Kushner and Greenblatt are interested in input from the parties involved.

Since near-weekly mass protests began March 30 along the Israel-Gaze border, more than 120 Palestinians have been killed and over 3,800 wounded by Israeli army fire.

Arab and Islamic nations then made a decision to seek a vote on virtually the identical resolution at Wednesday's emergency meeting of the General Assembly, where there are no vetoes.

A protester waves a Palestinian flag during a demonstration against US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in front of the United States embassy in Santiago December 11, 2017. It "deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas", but doesn't say who is doing the firing.

Unlike the Security Council, resolutions adopted by the assembly are non-binding and there is no veto.

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