Geneva (In Palestine Today)- The United States has voted to abstain from a United Nations resolution that grants Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes in the territories occupied by Israel.
US deputy ambassador Richard Mills announced the decision at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)’s Fourth Committee on Tuesday, reports The Jerusalem Post.
“This year, the United States returns to a position of abstention on the text ‘Assistance to Palestine Refugees,’” he was quoted as saying.
The draft resolution was put forward by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
It was approved with a vote of 160 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 9 abstentions, including the US.
“The text calls upon UNRWA to continue providing that assistance and reaffirms the rights of displaced Palestinians to return to their homes in the territories occupied by Israel”, said the UN in a press statement.
The resolution is one of six texts concerning Israeli-Palestinian issues that were given initial approval by the UNGA committee.
Final approval for the resolutions will be voted on later this year.
From ‘no’ to ‘abstention’
The Biden administration’s decision to move from a vote against the text to an abstention is a clear change in US voting patterns, set by former president Donald Trump.
“All such texts received an automatic ‘no’ vote” from the Trump administration in the past, reports JP.
Prior to Trump, the Obama administration traditionally abstained from the UNRWA text as well, which is presented annually to the committee.
However, despite its one abstention, the US voted against two other draft resolutions by the UNRWA.
One titled “Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues” requests that the UN Assembly “take all appropriate steps to protect Arab properties, assets and property rights in Israel.”
It was approved by the committee with 156 votes in favour to 6 against, with 9 abstentions.