December 2, 2018
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to the General Assembly before a vote in the General Assembly June 13, 2018 in New York. (Photo by: DON EMMERT/AFP)
The United Nations General Assembly is set to disavow Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and ignore Jewish ties to its most holy site, the Temple Mount in a highly publicized debate set to take place in New York late Thursday.
UN member states are also expected to call on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and boycott settlement activity.
According to the text of the Jerusalem resolution, likely to be voted Friday, the UN will call for "respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif, in word and in practice."
The resolution also states that "any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.
Finally the text calls "upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures."
The text on settlement boycott, calls on member states, "Not to render aid or assistance to illegal settlement activities, including not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories, in line with Security Council resolution 465 (1980).
It's expected that during the meeting that starts Thursday and is likely to run into Friday that some six pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel resolutions will be passed.
The debate is part of the UN's annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It marks the 71st anniversary of the US passage of Resolution 181, which called for independent Jewish and Arab states on territory that had been under British control since the end of World War I.
At the time it was accepted by Jews and rejected by the Arabs.
The resolutions are cyclical and voted upon annually at the UNGA and in other UN forums. Israel has focused its energy in recent years on similar text in other smaller bodies, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Executive Board.
Less attention has been given to the UN General Assembly where the Palestinians have automatic support among its 193 member states.
The Trump Administration strong support of Israel, particularly thought is Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has also helped highlight the anti-Israeli resolutions at the General Assembly.
Debates have increasingly become less about hostiles between Israel and the Palestinians and more about acrimony between the United States and the Palestinian Authority.
In an unusual move Hamas called on the United Nations to support its right to bear arms against Israel in a letter the terror group's political leader Ismail Haniyeh wrote to UN General Assembly President Maria Fernada Spinosa.
He spoke out in advance of UN debate later possibly Friday or Monday on a US back resolution condemning Hamas rocket fire against Israel.
"We reiterate the right of our people to defend themselves and to resist the occupation, by all available means, including armed resistance, guaranteed by the international law," Haniyeh wrote.
"The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted dozens of resolutions that affirm the right of peoples to independence, self-determination and struggle by all available means, peaceful and non-peaceful, for that right. The UN singled out the Palestinian people for dozens of relevant resolutions, including 2621, 2649, 2787 and 3236," he said.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said in response, "Hamas speaks about international law while it fires rockets into civilian populations, holds the bodies of IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens, and uses its own people as human shields."
"A terrorist organization going to the UN for assistance is like a serial killer asking the police for assistance. Israel and the United States will continue to mobilize the countries of the world into a united front against the terrorism that Hamas engages in on behalf of Iran," Danon said.
Hamas has forcibly ruled the Gaza Strip since it ousted Fatah in a bloody coup in 2007. The international community has solely recognized the Palestinian Authority as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.
The UN, through its Middle East Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, is working together with Egypt to reconcile Hamas and Fatah. The US resolution also speak of support for those efforts.
In its letter to the UN, Hamas put itself forward as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and also spoke to of rejection of any Israeli claims to any portion of that territory.
It condemned the US for adopting the Israeli narrative of the conflict and for its support of Israeli "aggression" against the Palestinian people.
"The last of these efforts is the attempt by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, in the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which is held on November 29 each year, to submit a draft resolution condemning the Palestinian resistance and the right of our people to defend themselves against this racist and continuous occupation for more than seven decades.
"There had been not only that, but it has taken a turn when the US President Donald Trump administration sought to reduce the number of UN resolutions on the Palestinian issue claiming that "many biased resolutions against Israel are not helpful," Haniyeh said.
"We greatly count on the members of the UN General Assembly and their stand by international legitimacy in support for the right of peoples to defend themselves and thwart these aggressive American endeavors," he added.