A US -sponsored draft resolution that for the first time would have condemned the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls Gaza, failed to win the required two-thirds majority in the U.N. General Assembly.
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 resolution, backed strongly by Israel and the USA, needed a two-thirds majority to pass following an earlier vote in the assembly.
"The failure of the American venture at the United Nations represents a slap to the USA administration and confirmation of the legitimacy of the resistance", Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri wrote on Twitter, using a phrase commonly used to refer to armed groups that oppose Israel.
Kuwait had asked the assembly, on behalf of Arab countries, to require a two-thirds majority, which was narrowly endorsed by a vote of 75 in favor, including European Union countries, 72 against and 26 abstentions.
Hamas said the failure to pass the resolution was "a serious failure for the "bullying policy" of the Trump administration adopted in the region".
Haley told the assembly before the vote that it could make history and unconditionally speak out against Hamas, which she called "one of the most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world".
The two rival resolutions reflect the deep divisions among the 193 United Nations member states over the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the failure to end it.
"Israel is in contravention of all Security Council and General Assembly resolutions", its representative said. Before the vote, she sent a letter to the missions of all 193 UN member nations asking them to support the US resolution. "Today we achieved a plurality".
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Outgoing US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had written to member states on Monday to urge them to vote for the US-drafted text, warning them: "The United States takes the outcome of this vote very seriously".
Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are non-binding, however, they carry political weight and are seen as a barometer of world opinion. One that is directly causing harm to the Palestinian people?
The overwhelming support for the Irish resolution reflects global support for action "without delay" toward an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a two-state solution.
Both the United States and European Union have classified Hamas as a terrorist group.
The United States put forward the resolution as it prepares to unveil new peace proposals that the Palestinians have already rejected.
By contrast, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the "large majority" - 87 countries - "that took a stance against Hamas" for the first time, calling it "an important achievement for the United States and Israel".
Haniyeh, in a statement released on Friday, said the majority of world countries stood with Palestinian rights, including the right of our people to resist the Tel Aviv regime's occupation and salvation from it, against a resolution that sought to denounce the legitimate resistance of the Palestinian nation.
Haley called condemnation of Hamas "an essential step" to a peace settlement.