Hamas head asks international community to thwart UN resolution

Haniyeh tells Arab League secretary-general and Qatari foreign minister to ‘abort’ US-drafted text condemning terror group; sends letter to UN secretary-general

Adam Rasgon is a former Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh delivering a speech in Gaza City, on January 23, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh delivering a speech in Gaza City, on January 23, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh has reached out to a number of Arab and foreign leaders to stymie a US-drafted UN General Assembly resolution that, if adopted, would condemn Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and demand an end to its violent activities.

The UN General Assembly is slated to vote on the draft resolution on Thursday, according to the US Mission to the world body.

“Haniyeh contacted a number of leaders and foreign ministers in the region and beyond to abort the American efforts to pass a resolution condemning the Palestinian resistance and Hamas,” the terror group said in a statement posted to its  website Sunday.

Haniyeh called Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and officials in the Egyptian General Intelligence Services, according to the statement.

He also sent letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and a number of other regional and international leaders, Hamas said.

In the letters, Haniyeh defended the “right” of the Palestinian people “to resist the occupation with all possible means including armed resistance,” according to the statement.

The American efforts to pass a resolution in the UN General Assembly condemning Hamas comes weeks after a major flareup in cross-border violence between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip that saw hundreds of rockets fired at Israel and retaliatory airstrikes in the Strip.

The United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 29, 2018. (AFP/ Don EMMERT)

The draft resolution has the backing of the European Union, according to the US Mission to the UN.

If EU member states vote in favor of the draft resolution, they would dramatically increase its chances of being adopted. However, it is unclear if their backing for it would guarantee the needed simple majority among the UN’s 193 member states for it to pass.

The draft resolution “condemns Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk” and demands that “Hamas and other militant actors including Palestinian Islamic Jihad cease all provocative actions and violent activity.”

The US considers Hamas and Islamic Jihad to be terrorist groups.

The draft resolution also calls on all parties to fully respect international humanitarian law, “including in regards to the protection of the civilian population.”

In recent days, Ramallah-based Palestinian officials have come out against the American-sponsored draft resolution.

On Saturday, Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasma said his party “totally rejects” the draft resolution and vowed it would make efforts to defeat it.

Last month, Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, lashed out at the draft resolution, calling it an “attempt to turn facts on their head.”

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