In first, US votes 'no' on UN resolution condemning Israeli control of Golan
DOMINICK REUTER (AFP/File)
For the first time, the United States voted against an annual United Nations resolution demanding Israel relinquish the Golan Heights, making it the only country to do so aside from Israel itself, as the resolution passed with 151 “yes” votes and the two "no" votes.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley made a statement ahead of the Friday vote explaining the shift in US policy concerning the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee's non-binding resolution on “The Occupied Syrian Golan.”
“If this resolution ever made sense, it surely doesn't today. The resolution is plainly biased against Israel,” the outgoing ambassador announced in a statement on Thursday.
In the past, the US has abstained from voting on the matter, but Haley vowed Thursday that it "will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights."
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 international law.
But in her statement, Haley said that the Syrian regime's "atrocities prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone," adding that Iran's presence in Syria presents "major threats to international security" along with "ISIS and other terrorist groups [that] remain in Syria."
In April, the US House of Representatives dismissed a a legislative proposal from Representative Ron DeSantis of Florida regarding a US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. DeSantis is on his way to take over as Florida's governor if the recount confirms the original results.
In August, US National Security Adviser John Bolton told Reuters that the White House was not discussing recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
Israel captured a large portion of the Golan mountain range from Syria during the 1967 war and the swath of land is viewed as occupied territory by most countries in the world.
“I’ve heard the idea being suggested but there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the US government,” Bolton reportedly said during his visit to Israel this week. “Obviously we understand the Israeli claim that it has annexed the Golan Heights - we understand their position - but there’s no change in the US position for now.”
In May, Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz predicted the US would soon recognize Israel’s claim over its piece of the Golan as a show of strength for Tehran.
The presence of Iranian military forces in Syria, seen as legitimate by Russia after Damascus “invited” them in, is viewed as a dire military threat by Israel that could embolden the Syrian government and Lebanese militants Hezbollah.
The week before, member of Israeli parliament Yoav Kisch wrote a letter to US ambassador to Israel David Friedman in which he stated that a US recognition of the Golan Heights would be a natural continuation of the current US policy in the region.
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 US policy on the issue.
I thank @nikkihaley for the #US decision to vote “no” on a despicable resolution condemning #Israel’s presence in the Golan Heights. It is time the world distinguishes those who stabilize the region from those who sow terror. https://t.co/MF816SpPsh— Ambassador Danon (@dannydanon) November 15, 2018
The Golan Heights were captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 six day war, and finally annexed by Israel in 1981 during Menachem Begin’s period as prime minister.
“The law, jurisdiction and administration of the State [of Israel] will take effect in the Golan Heights,” read the Golan Heights Law which passed in 1981.
Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, the Golan Heights have been seen as an integral part of Israel’s security, due to the turmoil and instability on the Syrian side of the border.
Israel also annexed the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 war in moves that are heavily contested by the Palestinians and most other international actors.
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There can NEVER be Syrians on the Golan. Never Ever.
East Jerusalem is an integral part of IL and has nothing to do with Palestinians.
Israel must never give up the Golan, needs to talk with US, Australia Brazil and any other like minded western country, get recognition for Israel that she will always have control of Golan. Pass laws to officially make Golan part of Israel. I remember clearly why Israel is there, and must stay, build up defenses as one day Syria will try to take back.
Strange that i24 got this wrong, but other than the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, Israel has not annexed the “West Bank” but continues the military administration of the territories.