The Kuwait and US Resolutions
Middle East Question: Israel and Palestine
By: Patrick Liu
- Statements Before the Vote on Kuwait’s Resolution (S/2018/516)
Kuwait summarized the steps that led to the final form of the resolution, including two productive negotiation rounds in which Kuwait had “listened to all amendments to take into account all issues”. Kuwait emphasized that the process was transparent, comprehensive and conclusive.
Ahead of the vote, Kuwait called on members to vote for the resolution to defend international humanitarian law, human rights law, and the protection of civilians. Kuwait stressed the need to hold all violators of international law accountable and cited the international protection mechanism in the resolution as a potential solution.
The US argued that Kuwait’s resolution did not take into account everyone’s edits, specifying the absence of “Hamas” in the resolution. The US contended that the resolution was grossly one-sided, and that “everyone who cares about the peace-process should vote against it”.
The US then described the instability that Hamas has created in the Gaza region by diverting humanitarian assistance and openly firing rockets into Israel. The US asserted that Hamas is the underlying cause of conflict, yet “Kuwait does not mention Hamas” and instead places all blame on Israel. This perpetuates biased towards Israel and undermines the UN’s credibility in dealing with the Israel/Palestine conflict.
The US introduced its alternative resolution for those members that recognize Hamas’ terror. This resolution condemned Hamas and contained principles that the Kuwait resolution lacks. The US stressed that if UNSC members voted for Kuwait’s resolution, “you vote that all responsibility is on Israel and none on the Hamas terrorist group.” The US reiterated its position against the resolution and its willingness to use veto power if necessary.
The US concluded by emphasizing that a “necessary precondition of peace is recognition of reality”. The US stressed Hamas’s role in causing terror in Israel and hoped that the UN would not side with terrorists over Israel.
Vote Results for Kuwait Resolution:
10 votes in favor
4 votes abstain (UK, Poland, Netherlands, Ethiopia)
1 vote against (US)
The resolution was vetoed by the United States and was NOT adopted.
Statements After Vote on Kuwait’s Resolution
Kuwait expressed its disappointment that the resolution was vetoed by the US. It stressed the failure of the UN to take into consideration international humanitarian law and human rights law. Kuwait thanked each member, who voted in favor of the resolution, but highlighted the continued deficiency of the UNSC. Kuwait further questioned the UNSC on “why Palestinians must continue to suffer… why the international community is failing to act...why Israel enjoys impunity… and why all these lives are lost while the world is silent.”
2. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom stated its concern for the situation in Gaza, but underscored that it was “regrettable that today’s resolutions are imbalanced or two vague”. The UK stressed that Kuwait’s resolution failed to name the terrorist actors and condemn Hamas. Additionally, the UK found the international protection mechanisms specified by Kuwait to be beyond expectation of the real world. However, the UK lamented that the US resolution was too vague and did not properly address Israel’s responsibilities in the conflict.
The UK would abstain from both votes.
France urged the UNSC members to set aside differences, and to send a strong message in response to the situation in Gaza. France emphasized that the UNSC cannot remain silent as it is “disastrous for multilateralism and the credibility of the UNSC”. In response to the Kuwait Resolution, France urged the UNSC to overcome the difficulties in the text. Although it is not perfect as it does not neither mention Hamas nor condemn rocket launches into Israel, the resolution was a huge step toward addressing the conflict in Gaza.
Kazakhstan voted in favor of the Kuwait resolution and called for the protection of civilians. In order to de-escalate the situation, Kuwait recommended a peace dialogue and urged all players to provide confidence building measures.
China mentioned that two-state solution would bring peace to the region. China voted in favor of the Kuwait resolution, as a measure to protect Palestinian civilians from harm and de-escalate the situation.
Poland asserted that it was not in a position to support the Kuwait text and abstained from the vote. Poland hoped for a text that would have been more balanced than it was in addressing responsibilities for the conflict.
In solidarity with Kuwait, Bolivia expressed its disappointment about the US’ decision to veto the resolution. Bolivia argued that the “unbalanced nature of the text” was insufficient for a veto, given the looming issues of protection of civilians and escalation of conflict.
Bolivia described the main threat to the civilians as “Israel’s occupation of Gaza”, and continued to list Israel’s violations against international law.
8. Russian Federation
The Russian Federation voted in favor of Kuwait’s resolution. Russia urged the international community to deal with the humanitarian crisis and the underlying political question in the Israel and Palestine conflict. Russia advocated against the use of force, pushed for the adoption of the two-state solution.
Vote Results for United States’ Resolution:
1 votes in favor (US)
11 votes abstain
3 vote against (Bolivia, Kuwait, Russia)
The resolution did not receive the required votes and was therefore NOT adopted.
- Statements After the Vote on United State’s Resolution (S/2018/520)
France stressed that the US Resolution was put forward to a vote without any previous consultations. Therefore, France was unready to support the resolution as a whole, which prompted it to issue an abstention.
Nevertheless, France expressed its support of certain paragraphs of the resolution regarding its condemnations of Hamas and rocket attacks.
Peru deplored the fact that a compromise could not be achieved between the parties to quell the Israel and Palestine conflict. Peru abstained from the US vote as they did not have an opportunity to discuss the US proposal.
Although they agreed to some provisions regarding condemning terrorist acts and rocket attacks, Peru ultimately abstained. In contrast, the Kuwait resolution fulfilled many of Peru’s concerns and views.
Sweden voted in favor of the resolution proposed by Kuwait. Sweden defended the resolution as it addressed international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians, condemned all acts of violence, and called for immediate steps to de-escalate and end the conflict in Gaza.
Sweden believed that the language in the US resolution did not properly or fully address the situation in Gaza. Sweden lamented that the proposal did not include language about international humanitarian law or humanitarian access.
The Netherlands abstained from both resolutions. The Netherlands regretted that the UNSC was not able to formulate one cohesive response to the recent events in Gaza. Additionally, the Netherlands hoped for greater urgency in protecting civilians on both the Palestinian and the Israel sides. The Kuwait resolution lacked the language to address the needs of all civilians; however, the US resolution did not fully depict the conflict or Israel’s responsibilities’ in the conflict.
Ethiopia accentuated its friendly relationships to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Ethiopia expressed deepest sorrow over the recent developments and lost of lives in Gaza. Ethiopia acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defence, but urged Israel to refrain from violence, and condemned the recent rocket launches from Palestine.
Ethiopia thanked Kuwait for the resolution, but wished it had also explicitly condemned violence by Hamas. Ethiopia felt that this statement was necessary to balance the draft.
Kuwait asserted its position against the US Resolution. Responding to the US, Kuwait defended its stance in protecting all civilians “anywhere and at anytime at all”. The US resolution on the other hand is simply for “Israeli authority” as it justifies Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Kuwait lamented that the resolution does not reference protection of Palestinian civilians or the ending of occupation by Israel.
7. Russian Federation
Russia voted against the US Resolution, but it agreed to some provisions in the draft resolution, recognizing Israel’s right to security. However, the US Resolution was not balanced in addressing the crisis situation in the Middle East.
Palestine thanked Kuwait and each member who voted in favor of the resolution. Palestine regretted the US’ decision to veto the resolution.
Palestine cited the severe protection crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians. In accordance with international humanitarian rights law, Palestine stressed the need to hold Israel accountable. Palestine emphasized the need for maximum restraint as well as the establishment of an international protection mechanism. In response to the negative vote, Palestine further highlighed that the UNSC has “rejected the might over right strategy”. Furthermore, Palestine urged states to reject the classification of the crisis as one of terrorism, stating instead that it is an issue of the “denial of people's rights”.
Israel lambasted Hamas for causing the majority of the deaths in the recent conflicts in the Gaza region. Of the names of the dead that the Bolivian representative listed, Israel contended that “the vast majority...over 90%...were Hamas terrorists”. Israel lamented that the Kuwait resolution did not mention Hamas, and expressed its disappoints that the international community chose to turn a blind eye on this reality. Furthermore, Israel accused such supporters of the Kuwait resolution of neglected this terrorist organization that has caused destruction, violence, and instability.
Israel thanked the US for its resolution that addressed this fundamental issue. In juxtaposition, It harshly criticized a Kuwait’s resolution and cited that the resolution only further empowers Hamas.
In response to Israel’s statement regarding the supports of Kuwait’s resolution, Bolivia denied Israel’s questioning of Bolivia’s commitment to fighting terrorism. Bolivia asserted that it did not fail to condemn any act of terrorism as per its dutyship to the UNSC.
Bolivia inquired why Israel did not recognize the right of return of the Palestinian people despite international law. Additionally, Bolivia called into question Israel’s statement of Hamas terrorists infiltrating Palestine with respect to the recent death of a Palestinian paramedic.