United Nations votes by strong majority to condemn Israel over Gaza violence

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Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 124 Palestinian and wounded more than 3,800 others.

The U.N. General Assembly approved a Palestinian-backed resolution Wednesday blaming Israel for violence in Gaza and deploring its "excessive use of force", after narrowly rejecting a US demand to add a condemnation of attacks on Israel by Gaza's Hamas rulers.

USA ambassador Nikki Haley attempted to include an amendment that would have condemned Hamas, which failed after several procedural votes.

In December, 128 countries defied US President Donald Trump and voted in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Addressing the assembly, US Ambassador Nikki Haley dismissed the resolution as biased against Israel and accused Arab countries of trying to score political points at home by seeking to condemn Israel at the United Nations.

The resolution also calls on all sides to respect worldwide law and condemns all acts of violence against civilians.

Before the vote, the U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said there were "no ideal actors" on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The assembly then voted on the original Palestinian-backed resolution which was approved by a vote of 120-8 with 45 abstentions. Israel says Hamas has used the protests as cover for attacks on the border fence.

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Riyad Mansour urged an emergency meeting of the 193-member world body Wednesday to do everything to protect civilians and to avert further destabilization so as encourage the possibility of peace "for which we have not yet lost all hope".

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said Tuesday night that he is lobbying 191 member states - all but the US and Israel - and expects to win. "It makes not one mention of the Hamas terrorists who routinely initiate the violence in Gaza", Haley told the General Assembly before the vote.

But as a later statement from Haley emphasized, the fact remained that "a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the US-led effort to address Hamas's responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza". "Is that a crime to ask for?" he said. Algeria, Turkey and the Palestinians put the resolution forward in the General Assembly after the United States vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member UN Security Council earlier this month.

"We can not remain silent in the face of the most violent crimes and human rights violations being systematically perpetrated against our people", Mansour said.

The resolution deplored Israel´s use of "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force" against Palestinian civilians and called for protection measures for Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. The US, Israel, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo and the Solomon Islands voted against the measure.

Prior to the vote, the U.S. attempted to add an amendment to the bill denouncing Palestinian political and militant group Hamas for its part in stoking violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

While Security Council resolutions are legally binding, General Assembly resolutions are not, although assembly spokesman Brenden Varma stressed Wednesday that they do reflect "political will" as well as global opinion.

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