While the vote condemning Hamas is expected to tilt in Israel’s favor, experts point to the large disparity in resolutions against the Jewish state as a long-standing impediment in the peace process
After passing six highly critical resolutions of Israel on Sunday, the United Nations General Assembly is preparing for a vote that would condemn Hamas for its terrorist activities against Israel. The tit-for-tat voting once again highlights Israel’s unique and contentious status in the global body.
The six resolutions were widely criticized as being disproportionately antagonistic of Israel. Two of them effectively ignored the historical ties between Judaism and Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, referring to the holy site only by its Arabic name. The resolutions were reminiscent of a UNESCO vote last year that denied historical Jewish ties to the holy city.
Other resolutions passed earlier this week denied Israel’s authority over Jerusalem and called upon the Jewish state to withdraw from the Golan Heights, a territory Israel captured from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967.
The vote against Hamas, however, is expected to tilt in Israel’s favor. The European Union has announced support for the U.S.-backed resolution, and other nations are expected to endorse the measure.
Nevertheless, the Hamas vote is “just a fig leaf” in the context of an overwhelming amount of anti-Israel resolutions, Professor Eytan Gilboa, a Senior Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, told the Media Line.
Even Arab States, he added, “would only vote for it because they also hate Hamas. Even if this resolution passes, it doesn’t mean much because General Assembly resolutions [as opposed to Security Council resolutions] are just recommendations. Yet the disparity between anti-Israeli resolutions and those benefiting Israel’s security, clearly show an imbalance when it comes to the Middle East peace process.
“It’s important to pass this resolution in view of the last eight months of violent Hamas-sponsored protests along the Israel-Gaza border,” he continued, “but it’s just a drop in the bucket in terms of adopting reasonable resolutions that are not one-sided.”
Beyond such disparities on Israel, some experts have pointed to problems in how the voting at the UN is structured.
“The United Nations, at least in the General Assembly, has a structure based on full equality between nations,” Einat Wilf, a former member of Israel’s parliament, explained to The Media Line.
“Therefore, dictatorships have the same rights in the assembly as advanced liberal democracies, and since the UN enjoys an image of general respectability, few are aware of the wide gulf between what the UN stands for and what it actually does.”
The perpetuation of this imbalance erodes the importance of the imminent resolution on Hamas, she explained. “The U.N. often trivializes settled international realities like Judaism and Christianity’s connection to the Temple Mount by placing such issues on the same level as pressing crises that need to be resolved.”
(Victor Cabrera is a student intern in The Media Line’s Press and Policy Student Program)