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Rewards Hamas atrocities with call for “ceasefire” before perpetrators have been neutralized and before hostages freed

B’nai B’rith President Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has passed a predictably irresponsible resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire” by Israel—effectively urging the Jewish state to disregard the deadliest violence against Jews since the Holocaust and to allow the ongoing threat to its citizenry to simply persist and grow. The resolution, advanced by the body’s Arab bloc, was adopted by a vote of 120 in favor to 14 against, with 45 abstaining. 

The adopted resolution failed to reference in any way the unprovoked Hamas cross-border invasion of Israel, and unprecedented atrocities committed within Israel, beginning on Oct. 7. In fact, it reserved the descriptor “catastrophic” only for the “humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,” not acknowledging that Hamas has hidden behind, fired from among and now held Israeli and international hostages incommunicado among Palestinian civilians, endangering them in Israel’s necessary defense response despite exceptional Israeli efforts to avoid civilian casualties. 

The resolution went as far as to urge rescinding Israel’s “order” for Palestinians in northern Gaza to temporarily relocate south, away from anticipated hostilities with Hamas, and implied that Israel is guilty of “forced transfer” of Palestinians without noting tens of thousands of Israelis dislocated from their communities and millions more forced to repeatedly seek shelter from the terrorists’ aerial bombardments. It failed to even mention Hamas—let alone Iran, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Lebanon, Syria and others—or to so much as use the word “hostages.” It called only for the immediate “release of all civilians,” implying that Hamas may continue to hold hostage abducted Israeli service members.  

Additionally, it neglected to reference Hamas misuse of endless resources for its terrorist attacks and infrastructure, rather than allowing aid to improve the lives of Gaza’s residents, and demanded “unhindered” supply to Gaza of goods including fuel, without providing for assurance that these would not further power Hamas assaults on Israelis. It underscored a call to “urgently establish a mechanism to ensure the protection of the Palestinian civilian population”—but not the Israeli civilian population. 

A reconvened “emergency special session”—itself broadcasting inherent bias and disconnect from reality, under the rubric of “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory”—has been held Oct. 26-27 by the UNGA. As in the past, the session came only after Israel was forced to commence defense efforts against extremist adversaries—nearly three weeks following the barbaric, indiscriminate murder of over 1,400 people, and the abduction of more than 220 others, in a rampage by Hamas across civilian communities inside Israel. The victims are in large part children, including infants, and women, and are citizens of over 40 countries in addition to Israel.  

Fully five of a total of 11 General Assembly “emergency sessions” held since the U.N.’s founding in 1945—and some 27 of 37 associated session meetings overall—have related to Israel, even as the Arab-Israeli conflict has accounted for an infinitesimal fraction of deaths owing to war, human rights abuse and other scourges globally. 

In the debate in the UNGA—within which Israel’s opponents enjoy an automatic majority—a litany of rogue and autocratic regimes, including the envoy of the Palestinian Authority, falsely accused Israel, not Hamas, of unsurpassed crimes including “genocide.” Pakistan’s representative said Palestinians were being “crucified” by the “Israeli killing machine.” None called for disarming and dismantling terrorist groups like Hamas, penalizing their sponsors, criminalizing support for such organizations, and deploring their jihadist ideology and their inciting, exploiting and endangering of members of their own populations. As of the time of this writing, only Arab and Muslim states’ speakers were loudly applauded by the assembly.  

The foreign minister of Iran—which has funded, armed, trained and guided Hamas as well as Hezbollah, an even bigger terrorist organization attacking and gravely threatening Israel from its north—said that his government plays a constructive role “in promoting peace and security as well as fighting terrorism.” He called Hamas a Palestinian “liberation” organization and said its “recent actions” were “completely legitimate.” Referring repeatedly, once switching to speaking in Persian, to the “Zionist regime,” he said that the entire land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River “belongs to the original Palestinians.” He also threatened “uncontrollable consequences” for “unlimited support” by the United States for “the Tel Aviv regime,” said Arab-Israel “normalization” was “doomed to failure,” invoked the since-rescinded 1975 UNGA equation of Zionism with racism and praised the U.N. secretary-general for his posture on the conflict.   

European democracies Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Norway and Spain voted in favor of the resolution, as did some other democratic countries including Argentina, Brazil and New Zealand. 

We thank Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Fiji, Guatemala, Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tonga and the United States for joining Israel in voting against this resolution.  

Canada, whose proposed amendment adding mention of Hamas and its hostages to the resolution garnered 88 countries supporting and 55 opposing—but failed to pass because of a decision to require support from a two-thirds majority of those present—was among those abstaining, as were Germany, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.