USA to oppose United Nations motion condemning Israeli control of Golan Heights

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks to reporters ahead of a Security Council meeting

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks to reporters ahead of a Security Council meeting

The United States said it would oppose on Friday for the first time an annual resolution at the United Nations calling on Israel to rescind its authority in the occupied Golan Heights, drawing praise from Israeli officials. The resolution is plainly biased against Israel; on Friday, we will vote no.

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 global law.

"The United States will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights", she said in a statement.

On Friday, Dannon was defiant and told the committee that Israel will not withdraw from the area: "Israel will not withdraw from the Golan Heights, it is time the worldwide community accepts it". "Further, the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone", Haley added.

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In one of her final major actions before resigning her post, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was set to proudly and officially change the American position on the matter by voting "no" on the resolution.

The presence of Iranian military forces in Syria, seen as legitimate by Russian Federation after Damascus "invited" them in, is viewed as a dire military threat by Israel that could embolden the Syrian government and Lebanese militants Hezbollah. "And this resolution does nothing to bring any parties closer to a peace agreement", Haley added.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed the USA announcement, saying in a statement that "the change in the American voting pattern is another testament to the strong cooperation between the two countries".

The non-binding resolution, sponsored by countries including Cuba, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Venezuela, describes Israel's presence as an illegal occupation and calls on Israel "to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and in particular to desist from the establishment of settlements".

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US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley talks with Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon before a vote in the General Assembly June 13, 2018 in NY.

The week before, member of Israeli parliament Yoav Kisch wrote a letter to United States ambassador to Israel David Friedman in which he stated that a U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights would be a natural continuation of the current USA policy in the region.

It remains sovereign Syrian territory under worldwide law.

However, Israel has also been pressing U.S. diplomats on other issues.

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In thanking Haley, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said it was high time for the rest of the world to join Trump's America in distinguishing "between those who stabilize the region and those who sow terror". However, the law has never been recognised internationally, and the dispute between Syria and Israel over the territory has yet to be resolved.

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