The resolution – which passed 45-2 – made no reference to Hamas or Palestinian violence against Israel. The one-line amendment Israel introduced called “for the immediate release of the civilians and soldiers being held in Gaza by Hamas.”
Only five countries voted in favor of the Israeli amendment: the United States, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. Another 18 countries opposed the call to free Israeli captives.
Some 23 countries abstained, including all EU member states on the council; Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Spain and Britain.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon attacked the EU for its neutrality on Twitter.
“HARD TO BELIEVE AT THE UN! At @UNECOSOC yesterday the EU members did not support an Israel initiative to include in the usual anti Israel texts a sentence calling for the immediate release of the civilians and soldiers held in Gaza by Hamas! Disappointing,” Nahshon wrote.
HARD TO BELIEVE AT THE UN! At @UNECOSOC yesterday the EU members did not support an Israel initiative to include in the usual anti Israel texts a sentence calling for the immediate release of the civilians and soldiers held in Gaza by Hamas! Disappointing. @IsraelMFA @IsraelinUN
Prior to the vote, US Ambassador to ECOSOC Kelley Currie said that her country once again “calls on Hamas to return the [bodies of] Israeli Defense Forces soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, as well as Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, to their families immediately.
“All member-states should be clear on where they stand regarding Hamas by voting in support of the amendment,” Currie said.
Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon added that both the Israelis held are “mentally disabled and in need of immediate medical attention. They [Hamas] also refuse to permit visits by the Red Cross or any other third party, or to provide information about their fate or condition.”
“We see that some countries here cannot name Hamas when it comes to condemning who is responsible for holding the bodies of Israelis,” Danon said.
The Palestinian representatives told Danon, “You would have a much stronger argument if Israel was not withholding dozens of Palestinian bodies… This practice has been going on for years.”
“Once you pursue this policy it makes it harder to be credible denouncing it,” the Palestinian representative said.
He spoke in reference to Israel’s practice, in some cases, of withholding the bodies of Palestinian terrorists responsible for killing Israelis.
At the request of the EU, the ECOSOC states approved a compromise text that spoke generally of the release of all bodies withheld as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.