Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Washington to veto United Nations vote on occupied Golan Heights

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks to reporters ahead of a Security Council meeting Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks to reporters ahead of a Security Council meeting
Deanna Wagner | 17 November, 2018, 00:58

The U.S. on Friday voted against an annual resolution condemning the "occupation" of the Golan Heights - a change from the U.S. decision to abstain in 2017- and ripped into the body's alleged anti-Israel bias, part of an increasingly pro-Israel stance under the Trump administration.

"The resolution is plainly biased against Israel".

It appears these predictions may be coming to fruition as Haley readies to vote against the resolution Friday in what would be a historic change in U.S. policy on the issue.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon thanked the U.S. for the move and said the "UN should deal with Syria's civil war, not meaningless decisions that won't affect Israel's sovereignty in the Golan Heights".

Israel took control of the Golan Heights in 1967 after the Six-Day War. "Further, the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone", she said in a statement.

The texts condemn Israel for "repressive measures" against Syrian citizens in the Golan Heights, reinforce the mandate of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and renew the mandate of the UN's "special committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories". Haley's statement drew praise from Israeli officials.

The presence of Iranian military forces in Syria, seen as legitimate by Russian Federation after Damascus "invited" them in, is viewed as a dire military threat by Israel that could embolden the Syrian government and Lebanese militants Hezbollah. And this resolution does nothing to bring any parties closer to a peace agreement.

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U.S. Political Advisor Samantha Sutton, in remarks to the committee on Friday, said that United Nations resolutions frequently blame Israel for problems in the region, without mentioning terrorist acts by Hamas.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed the United States announcement, saying in a statement that "the change in the American voting pattern is another testament to the strong cooperation between the two countries".

But the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced on Thursday that the country would vote against the general assembly resolution, which is a non-binding motion voted on every year that is still likely to pass.

The non-binding resolution is voted on every year by the UN General Assembly's Third Committee.

However, Israel has also been pressing United States diplomats on other issues. But those same European nations "failed to introduce a single UNGA resolution this year on the human rights situation in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Algeria, or on 175 other countries".

In thanking Haley, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said it was high time for the rest of the world to join Trump's America in distinguishing "between those who stabilize the region and those who sow terror".

Israel has reportedly pressed the White House in recent months to recognize the Golan annexation, arguing that the bloody civil war in Syria undergirded Israeli claims that the plateau is critical to maintaining security.