The UN General Assembly will vote Thursday (Dec 6) on a US-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinian Hamas movement, in what could mark US Ambassador Nikki Haley's parting gesture at the United Nations.
Israeli leaders still praised the outcome as a show of wide support for their position against the terror group, which for years has targeted Israel with rockets, bombs and other attacks.
Saudi Arabia's UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said the USA resolution would "undermine the two-state solution which we aspire to".
Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon said the countries that rejected the draft resolution should be ashamed.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the US Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley in New Delhi. Credit PTI
The resolution ultimately picked up a plurality of 87 votes in support and 58 against - with 32 abstentions.
"The General Assembly has never said anything - not one thing - about Hamas, even when we all agree Hamas' behavior undermines any prospects for peace".
The U.S. urged a simple majority vote on the resolution but just before the final vote, Kuwait and Bolivia were able to get a narrow majority to adopt a rule requiring a two-thirds majority for the resolution's passage which ensured its failure.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose defense of Israel has been a signature calling during her almost two-year run, had lobbied hard for European countries and others to join with Washington in condemning Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and for "inciting violence", putting civilians at risk.
The last time the U.S. put forth a motion condemning Hamas, in June, the vote was 62-58 in favor, with 42 abstentions - a smaller plurality that also failed to reach a 2/3 threshold.
The vote was symbolically important because, from the time Haley arrived at the U.N.in January 2017, she has made a point of trying to turn the tide of what the Trump administration considers overwhelmingly anti-Israel resolutions and this vote illustrated what an uphill battle that turned out to be.
Meanwhile in Jerusalem, the USA ambassador to Israel -David Friedman - and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the fifth-day of Hannukah as well as the one-year anniversary of the historic decision.
Iran's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Eshaq Al-e-Habib, echoed his Saudi counterpart's comments, calling the resolution a "distraction" from the Israeli occupation. He also thanked countries that voted against the resolution for preventing "the US administration and Israel from criminalizing Palestinian resistance".
"Regardless of what any country in this chamber thinks a future peace settlement should look like", Haley said, "support for this resolution is an essential step to achieving it".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the US Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley, in New Delhi.
The Arabs know all about Hamas but in their calculation, the time for a complete capitulation to Israeli diktats on how the peace process should unfold has not yet come, no matter what Haley and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law who is in charge of sorting out the Middle East, believe.
In negotiations with the Europeans, the United States agreed to add a mention of "relevant UN resolutions" without specifying which ones.
Both the United States and European Union have classified Hamas as a terrorist group.