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Foreign Policy Analysis
UN General Assembly Special Session on the Situation in Gaza

UN General Assembly Special Session on the Situation in Gaza

floor to the distinguished representative of the United States to introduce
Draft Amendment (A/ES-10/L.24). AMBASSADOR HALEY: Good afternoon. There are many terrible things happening
in the world today. Many things that demand our urgent attention. As we speak, protests are taking place in
Nicaragua. Over 146 peaceful Nicaraguans have been killed
by their own government in the past two months. But we are not talking about Nicaragua today. The people of Iran have been protesting their
government for months. Thousands of peaceful Iranian protestors
have been arrested. Over 25 are dead. But we’re not talking about Iran either. The world’s worst humanitarian crisis
is going on right now in Yemen. Millions are at risk for starvation. In Burma, almost a million innocent people
have been driven from their homes in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. But we’re not talking about Yemen or Burma. Instead, today the General Assembly is devoting
its valuable time to the situation in Gaza. Gaza is an important international matter. But what makes it different and more urgent
than conflicts in Nicaragua, Iran, Yemen, Burma, or many other desperate places? Because we haven’t gathered here to discuss
any of those urgent issues. The United States would welcome that. What makes Gaza different for some is that
attacking Israel is their favorite political sport. That’s why we’re here today. The nature of this resolution clearly demonstrates
that politics is driving the day. It is totally one-sided. It makes not one mention of Hamas, who routinely
initiates violence in Gaza. Such one-sided resolutions at the UN do nothing
to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Everyone recognizes that. But advancing peace is not the goal
of this resolution. I suspect even my Turkish friends know the passage
of this resolution won’t change anything, but that it looks good for the people
back home to think they’re doing something. That is pure politics. In fact, this resolution makes peace
less possible. It feeds a narrative to the desperate people
of Gaza that their leaders are not responsible for their predicament. It stokes hatred. It sacrifices honesty, accuracy, compromise,
and reconciliation in favor of the advancement of a narrow political agenda. If we were being honest, we would acknowledge
that there are no perfect actors on either side of this conflict. But it does no one any good to pretend that
all blame lies on one side. I wish everyone supporting this one sided
resolution would put as much energy into encouraging President Abbas to come to the negotiating
table, as you do to falsely imply to your people back home that you’re doing something. Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005. Hamas has been the de facto government
in Gaza since 2007. This strip of land along the Mediterranean
coast has enormous potential. And yet, after 11 years of Hamas rule, Gaza
has electricity for only a few hours a day. It has enormous unemployment and poverty. It is a haven for terrorist activity. At what point will the UN actually hold accountable
those who are in charge of Gaza and running it into the ground? Instead, this resolution holds Hamas completely
unaccountable for most of the recent unrest. It blames everything on Israel. But the facts tell a different story. It is Hamas and its allies that have fired
over a hundred rockets into Israel in the past month, hoping to cause death to as many
civilians and as much destruction as possible. It is Hamas that has used Palestinian civilians
as human shields at the boundary fence, seeking to incite violence
and overrun the border. It is Hamas that refuses to cooperate
with the Palestinian Authority to unite in the pursuit of peace. It is Hamas that calls for the destruction
of the state of Israel within any borders. And yet the resolution before us not only
fails to blame Hamas for these actions, it fails to even mention Hamas. This is the dangerous, counter-productive
decision the General Assembly is about to take. But there is still a chance for this body
to try and right this wrong. We still have the opportunity to salvage something
honest from this discussion. The United States is offering an amendment
that provides a small step in the direction of balance. Our amendment rightly condemns Hamas’s indiscriminate
firing of rockets into Israeli civilian communities. It accurately condemns the diversion of aid
and resources from civilian needs into military infrastructure, including terror tunnels
used to attack Israeli citizens. It justly expresses our grave concerns about
damage done to border crossings that are hindering the delivery of desperately needed food
and fuel to the people of Gaza. This is a modest amendment that reflects the
minimum truth of what is going on in Gaza. It is the least that any self-respecting international
organization or nation can do for the cause of peace. To those who are unsure about how to vote,
I ask, what part of our amendment is objectionable? Is it objectionable to condemn Hamas for firing
the rockets at civilians? Is it objectionable to condemn the diversion
of resources from civilians to military uses? Or is it objectionable to express concern
about the destruction of border crossings that deliver life-saving supplies? Today’s choice for the General Assembly
is simple. It is the choice between using our time here
to advance peace and security, or using it to stoke hatred and conflict. This vote will tell us much about which countries
are serious about accuracy and reconciliation and which countries are bound
by their political agendas. For the sake of peace, and for the sake of
this institution, I urge my colleagues to support the United States’ amendment. Thank you. UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY CHAIR: I thank the distinguished representative of the United States.

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