An old military vehicle can be seen positioned on the Israeli side of the border with Syria, near the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
The United States rejected a United Nations General Assembly resolution that calls on Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that in past years the US has abstained when this cyclical resolution comes for a vote.
“However, given the resolution’s anti-Israel bias, as well as the militarization of the Syrian Golan border, and a worsening humanitarian crisis, this year the United States has decided to vote no on the resolution,” Haley said.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 war and has since annexed it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the Trump Administration to recognize that the Golan Heights is part of sovereign Israel.
US President Donald Trump has not publicly responded to that request but US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has told the media he expects that the Golan Heights would remain in Israeli hands forever.
Late Thursday night, Haley said, “The United States will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights. If this resolution ever made sense, it surely does not today.”
She added, “The resolution is plainly biased against Israel. Further, the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone.
“The destructive influence of the Iranian regime inside Syria presents major threats to international security. ISIS and other terrorist groups remain in Syria. And this resolution does nothing to bring any parties closer to a peace agreement. The United States will vote no,” Haley said.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, “The change in the American voting pattern is another testament to the strong cooperation between the two countries. I thank Ambassador Haley for her continued steadfastness with Israel and the truth. It is time for the world to distinguish between those who stabilize the region and those who sow terror. "
Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev thanked Haley and Trump.
"The Golan Heights is an inseparable part of the State of Israel, thank you President Trump and Ambassador Haley for strengthening US-Israel relations," Regev said.
The Golan resolution is one of nine resolutions the UNGA Fourth Committee is expected to approve on Friday. The other eight pro-Palestinian resolutions seek to censure Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians.
At least four of the resolutions, some of which are quite lengthy, seek to shore up the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency that services over 5.2 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, east Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
The resolutions call on Israel to compensate the refugees and for the protection of Palestinian and Arab property rights.
They also demand that Israel halt settlement activity and call on Israel to recognize the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
Many of the points are repeated multiple times within the text of the resolutions. One of the texts does have a line condemning the Palestinian indiscriminate firing of rockets against Israel.
The US is expected to oppose all the resolutions.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said, “The UN’s planned assault on Israel with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal.”
“Days after the Hamas terrorist group assaulted Israeli civilians with a barage of 460 rockets — while the UN’s General Assembly and Human Rights Council stayed silent — the world body now adds insult to injury by adopting nine lopsided condemnations, whose only purpose is to demonize the Jewish state.”
Earlier in the week the Palestinians had unsuccessfully attempted to sway the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli actions in Gaza. The UNSC held a session on Gaza, but did not reach any conclusions.
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