The United Nations General Assembly on Monday voted on a series of decisions condemning Israel, an annual event marking a day of solidarity with the Palestinians.
Among the 20 decisions passed by the 193-nation body were motions condemning Israel for, among other things, its settlement policy, damaging the character of Jerusalem and bearing responsibility for the violence in the conflict with the Palestinians — but without recalling the ongoing spate of Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis.
The Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, slammed the UN body, charging that “no amount of biased resolutions and empty symbols will bring the change that the people of the region so desperately need.”
The decisions all passed with the support of Arab states and the Non-Aligned bloc of nations.
In a speech before the General Assembly, Danon read out the names and held up a collage of the pictures of the 20 Israeli victims of Palestinian terror attacks since mid-September when the current wave of violence began, amid tensions surrounding the Temple Mount. By October, the violence escalated to near-daily stabbings and shootings, mainly in Jerusalem and the West Bank, but central Israel has also seen some attacks. Palestinians claim Israel is planning to change the status quo on the Mount, where Jews can visit but not pray. Israel has vehemently denied the charge.
“This is a shameful day for the United Nations,” said Danon before the assembly. “Instead of issuing a clear and categorical statement denouncing all acts of terror, this institution has granted legitimacy to Palestinian terror.”
“The heinous murder of a 20 innocent Israelis, just because they are Israelis, is no different than the cruel massacre of innocents in France,” he said in reference to the multiple terror attacks in Paris on November 13, in which 130 people killed.
“These terrorist attacks and killings are a direct result of incitement. If the UN wants to play a constructive role, it must get a grip on reality, and hold the Palestinians accountable,” he went on.
Danon had said ahead of the voting that he hoped the Israeli delegation would succeed in impressing on European countries, who are currently facing terror attacks and threats from the Islamic State group, that “the Palestinians glorify terror instead of the value of life and the time has come for the international community to condemn the terror conducted against Israel.”
General Assembly decisions cannot be enforced on member states through sanctions or other means, as is the privilege of the smaller UN Security Council, and are considered mostly symbolic.
The UN voting against Israel is an annual event sponsored by the Palestinians and usually held on November 29, the date on which the world body has marked as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Since November 29 this year falls on a Sunday, and in the US, Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday, the UN voting session was brought forward to Monday.
November 29 marks the anniversary of the date in 1947 when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, paving the way for the creation of Israel. It’s also the date in 2012 when the UN voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state, considered a major milestone in the Palestinians’ statehood drive.