The resolution urges the UN to send an “international protection mechanism” to protect the Palestinians from the “Israeli occupation”.

General Assembly vote

General Assembly vote Photo Credit: Amir Levy/Flash90

120 countries voted on Wednesday to pass a UN resolution which condemns Israel’s ‘extensive use of force’ against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The resolution includes a recommendation to UN chief Antonio Guterres to dispatch an “international protective mechanism” to Gaza.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a letter that he “expresses thanks and appreciation to the members of the UN that voted for the resolution to provide international protection for the Palestinian nation.” In a statement today (Thursday), he said that the resolution was “a victory for Palestinian rights, justice and international law.”

The vote for the “Protection of the Palestinian civilian population” resolution, which took place in the General Assembly in New York City, was first proposed by Algeria, Turkey and the Palestinians. A similar proposal was vetoed by the US in the Security Council a few weeks ago.

“We need protection of our civilian population,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, said at the General Assembly’s emergency session prior to voting. “We cannot remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetuated against our people.”

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley spoke at the General Assembly and criticized the clear bias against Israel reflected in the “one-sided” resolution. “It makes not one mention of the Hamas terrorists who routinely initiate the violence in Gaza,” she said.”The nature of this resolution clearly demonstrated that politics is driving the day. It is totally one-sided.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said that “by supporting this resolution, you are colluding with a terrorist organization. By supporting this resolution you are empowering Hamas.”

With a significant majority, 120 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 45 abstained, and 7 joined Israel in voting against it: the United States, Australia, Togo, the Marshall islands, Solomon Islands, Micronesia and Nauru. 

According to the terms of the resolution, Guterres has 60 days to come back with suggestions for ways to ensure “the safety, protection and wellbeing of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation.”

While resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly are not binding, they do still hold political and diplomatic significance. That being said, an “international protective mechanism” would have to be approved by the Security Council, where the US has veto power. Since 1972, the US has vetoed 43 Security Council resolutions critical to Israel.