Washington opposes United Nations resolution on Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan

Pauline Gross
November 18, 2018

The United States voted on Friday against an annual United Nations resolution that condemns Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights.

In announcing the decision, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the resolution is "plainly biased against Israel". Israel, as usual, voted against the resolution, but the U.S. also voted no for the first time ever.

The non-binding resolution, which is voted on by a UN General Assembly committee each year, takes issue with the "illegality of the decision" taken by Israel "to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan", which it says is illegal under worldwide law.

Each year, the assembly votes on the resolution that stipulates the "illegality" of Israel's decision "to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan", which it signifies as illegal according to global law. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 war in the region and later annexed it.

United States ambassador to Israel David Friedman told an Israeli newspaper in September that he expected the annexed Golan Heights to remain under Israeli control "forever", and mentioned the possibility of usa official recognition of the Golan as Israeli territory.

The Golan Heights form a buffer between Israel and Syria of about 1,200 square km (460 square miles).

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, for his part, praised Haley's announcement as "the change in the American voting pattern", which Danon said is "another testament to the strong cooperation between the two countries".

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Friday that "it's past time to acknowledge the reality of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which should never come under the control of the Iran-backed Assad regime".

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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.

Tel Aviv has also been pressing the U.S. administration under Israel-friendly President Trump to recognize its claim to sovereignty over the occupied territory in defiance of global law.

The resolution was adopted in a U.N. General Assembly committee by a vote of 151 to 2, with only the USA and Israel voting against measure, while other 14 countries abstained on Friday. "The United States will vote no", the statement said. Yet as the regime run by Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Iranian and Russian Federation help, has beaten back most rebel groups operating in southern Syria and re-established control of the region, Israel has grown increasingly concerned with Iran establishing a permanent presence on the Syrian side of the border. However, the Syrian civil war has led to many applying for citizenship.

The resolution was adopted by the assembly's fourth committee on decolonization.

Syria meanwhile hailed the vote and said the U.N. had sent a message that Israel was in "violation of the provisions of the [U.N.] Charter and of worldwide law". "It is time for the world to distinguish between those who stabilize the region and those who sow terror".

"I can not honestly imagine a situation in which the Golan Heights is not part of Israel forever", Friedman told the Israel Hayom daily.

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon welcomed the US move and called it "another testament to the strong cooperation between the two countries".

But during a visit to Israel a month earlier, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said there were no discussions on such recognition.

Other reports by GizPress

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