Egypt expected to vote against US-drafted UN resolution condemning Hamas
 
 
UN General Assembly - Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
 

Cairo intends to vote against an unprecedented US-drafted resolution that would condemn Hamas for launching missiles into Israeli territory and inciting violence against civilians, an Egyptian government source tells Mada Masr, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A number of Arab states have agreed to vote against the resolution, which is due to be voted upon by the UN General Assembly on Thursday, because it does not serve Arab interests, according to the source.

“At times, in our pursuit of reconciliation between Hamas and Israel, we must blame Hamas for certain measures that negatively impact efforts to reach a truce, but we certainly will not vote in favor of this resolution,” the source explains.

Over the past few weeks, Egypt, alongside the United Nations and Qatar, has led efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip, broker a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas and end the conflict between the latter and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah.

While Egypt will vote against the resolution, its support for Hamas is not necessarily straightforward. In November, Egypt exerted heavy pressure on Hamas to declare a ceasefire with Israel following renewed violence in Gaza, but did not make similar demands of the Israeli side, according to a high-level Egyptian official with knowledge of the situation. Palestinian factions later reportedly agreed to a ceasefire at Egypt’s request.

According to an article published on Tuesday by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the White House has targeted a number of countries including Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the hope of persuading them to support the resolution. However, the source is adamant that Arab nations would not vote in the resolution’s favor.

The source acknowledges that Washington had attempted to convince Arab nations that the resolution could put enough collective pressure on Hamas to effectively strengthen the US position in its forthcoming proposals to achieve peace between Palestine and Israel and reconciliation among the various Palestinian factions.

The Egyptian official adds that the US accepted some amendments to the text of the draft resolution, which is only one-page long, based on consultations with certain member states in the General Assembly. However, these amendments have not changed the Arab bloc’s position.

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum recently issued a statement expressing the movement’s appreciation of the “efforts exerted by several countries to oppose the US draft resolution condemning Hamas and other factions of the Palestinian resistance.” The statement also expressed appreciation for the government in Ramallah’s opposition to the resolution, saying that “the efforts of competent entities in the PA, especially Dr. Riyadh Mansour, Palestine’s representative in the UN, are a deliberate and responsible effort to demonstrate a sense of responsibility and awareness of the serious nature of the challenges.”

“The Palestinian Authority completely opposes the resolution, and believes that it could be used as a pretext for a potential Israeli attack against Gaza,” a source from the Palestinian Authority tells Mada Masr. “We have differences with Hamas but our main concern is the interest of the Palestinian people, not achieving victories in factional politics.”

According to the source, consultations with Cairo on ending the division between Fatah and Hamas are expected to resume in the coming days, which does not necessarily indicate that progress has been made in Palestinian reconciliation negotiations. Talks were suspended last week due to persisting differences between the two major Palestinian movements.

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Asmahan Soliman