Will Israel's chief U.N. envoy Danon quit to run with Likud?

Danon secured a number of institutional success for Israel, including the UN’s recognition of Yom Kippur as an official holiday.

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December 26, 2018 12:38
2 minute read.
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks during the United Nations Security Coun

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including Palestine, at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., December 18, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)

 
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In August 2015, Danny Danon, a Likud party stalwart, resigned from the government and flew to New York to take up the prestigious post of ambassador to the UN. It is a job once held by his boss, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose service at the UN in the 1980s helped catapult his political career.

On Wednesday, media reports circulated that Danon, who served as science minister for a brief period in the beginning of this government’s term, was planning to quit his ambassadorship and return to Israel to compete for a spot on the Likud Party’s list.

His office refuted the report. “On behalf of Ambassador Danon, the recent reports of his resignation are incorrect. After a decision is reached in the Knesset, he will announce his intentions,” Danon’s office reported.

Danon, a popular Likud politician with a keen eye for international relations, is known for being a strong supporter of the settlement movement. He was a frequent visitor to Judea and Samaria prior to his arrival in New York.

In the absence of a foreign minister, he has been the face and voice of Israel’s foreign policy at the UN.

During his tenure, the United Nations Security Council passed the infamous anti-settlement resolution 2334 during the last month of the Obama administration.

But it was also under Danon that the Trump administration crafted its offensive stance against the UN’s cyclical approval of anti-Israel resolutions, by working to amend the texts to include condemnations of Palestinian violence. Danon worked diligently to establish strong ties with Nikki Haley, which proved key in fighting Israel’s delegitimization in the UN corridors.

A UN General Assembly resolution condemning Hamas terrorism against Israel secured a surprising majority, even though it failed to be approved on a technicality.

Danon secured a number of institutional successes for Israel, including the UN’s recognition of Yom Kippur as an official holiday, as well as his appointment to head the UN Legal Committee, the first time an Israeli envoy was placed at the helm of a UN committee.

He served as vice president of the General Assembly on behalf of the Western states, and the Israeli mission also claimed partial credit for amending the General Assembly resolution Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy to condemn the use of civilians as human shields by terrorist organizations.

Israel was also able to pass its UN General Assembly resolution on agricultural technology and sway the UN Security Council to condemn the 2016 Sarona Market terrorist attack.

Like his famous predecessor, Netanyahu, Danon was good at making use of visual props to hammer home his points, often holding poster boards with maps and photographs.

He did so as well at this month’s UN Security Council debate on the Hezbollah attack tunnels.

Danon told the council, “Hezbollah has built a terror base inside a civilian population, with its end on the Israeli side of the border, all financed by Iran. This is not only a clear violation of Resolution 1701, but Hezbollah also uses Lebanese civilians as human shields. If Hezbollah dares to attack Israel, it will bring ruin to Lebanon.”

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