By Rodrigo Campos
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States vetoed on Friday a Kuwaiti-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians, underlining Washington’s differences with friends and foes alike over the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Later, a second, U.S.-drafted resolution that blamed Hamas for the violence and upheld Israel’s right to defend itself failed to attract any other country’s support when it was put to vote in the 15-member council.
Blasting the council majority, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the two votes showed it was willing to blame Israel and unwilling to blame Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates Gaza.
“It is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel,” she said in a statement.
France, Russia, China, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Peru, Sweden, and Equatorial Guinea joined Kuwait in voting in favor of the first draft. Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and Ethiopia abstained. Only the United States voted against.
To be adopted, a Security Council resolution needs to receive at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by any of the permanent members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.
Only the United States voted in favor of the second draft resolution, while there were three negative votes and 11 abstentions.
At least 116 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza border protests since March 30. The largest number of killings occurred on May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Amid international condemnation of its use of lethal force, Israel said many of the dead were militants and that the Israeli army was repelling attacks on the border fence between Israel and Gaza. Washington has maintained Israel’s right to defend itself and refrained from joining calls for Israeli restraint.
Palestinians and their supporters said most of the protesters were unarmed civilians and Israel was using excessive force against them.
Over the years, the United States has vetoed a number of Security Council resolutions critical of Israel. In December, it vetoed an Egyptian-drafted resolution calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to reverse its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Sandra Maler)