The administration of US President Joe Biden did not vote against a UN General Assembly Resolution affirming the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday. In doing so, said the newspaper, the US president has broken the voting pattern on Israel set by his predecessor Donald Trump.
Under Trump, all such UN texts received an automatic “no” vote. The Obama administration generally abstained on this particular reaffirmation resolution, which comes up annually before the UN General Assembly.
“This year, the United States returns to a position of abstention on the text ‘Assistance to Palestine Refugees’,” the Jerusalem Post reported the US Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills as telling the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee on Tuesday.
The committee gave initial approval to six draft resolutions that will come later this year before the assembly plenum for a final vote. Three of those texts affirmed the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which serves 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
All three resolutions call for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their home or for their receipt of compensation for the property they lost when they fled during the Nakba and since 1948.
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The text of this was passed by 160 votes to 1; only Israel voted against. The European Union supported all three draft resolutions and nine countries, including the US and Canada, abstained.