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US Switches Traditional ‘Abstain’ Vote to ‘No’ on Anti-Israel Golan Heights UN Resolution

November 18, 2018 News

Will peace return to the Israel-Syria border region?
Golan Heights UN Peacekeepers. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Wolfgang Grebien.

For years, the United Nations has purposely felt the need to reiterate in a resolution their objection to Israeli control over the disputed Golan Heights that border Syria, and for years the United States has simply abstained. But this year, things are different—in Syria, at the UN and with the US vote.

“If this resolution ever made sense, it surely does not today,” said US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley last week in comments released by her office. “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 Times of Israel said it was the first time the US had voted no on the resolution, which rejects Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Israel acquired the region while defending itself from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greatly appreciated the US vote last week, while saying that Israel wasn’t leaving the Golan.

“I would like to thank President [Donald] Trump and Ambassador Haley on this important and just vote that is completely in keeping with my policy—Israel will always remain on the Golan Heights, and the Golan Heights will always remain in our hands,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office.

Netanyahu pointed to this as an example of the Americans’ “new policy at the UN” compared to past governments. He said that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman had let him know of the change in voting plans.

In addition to listing reasons why they could no longer abstain, Ambassador Haley further called it a “useless annual vote.” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon agreed.

Said Danon in a post to Twitter: “The #UN should deal with Syria’s civil war, not meaningless decisions that won’t affect #Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights. Today, we said in a clear voice: the time has come for the world to recognize we will not retreat. We thank the #US for standing with us on this vote.”

In the US, the decision was also praised. Former presidential candidate and current US Senator Ted Cruz posted to Twitter: “I commend the Trump administration & Ambassador @nikkihaley for standing up to UN bias against Israel. 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.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 18, 2018)

 

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