US To Vote 'No' Instead Of Abstain On UN Resolution About Golan

Clay Curtis
November 18, 2018

Former US administrations have abstained from voting on the draft resolution on Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights and condemnation of the Israeli occupation of the territory, which is presented annually to the UN General Assembly.

"The resolution is plainly biased against Israel", Haley said in a statement. Israel, as usual, voted against the resolution, but the USA also voted no for the first time ever. 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 made a decision to vote no", she wrote.

Israel seized control of much of the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war and later annexed it, in moves never recognized by the worldwide community.

Israel has reportedly pressed the White House in recent months to recognize the Golan annexation, arguing that the bloody civil war in Syria undergirded Israeli claims that the plateau is critical to maintaining security.

Chairman of the Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, thanked Haley and reiterated that the Golan Heights is part of Israel.

Israel's permanent ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon praised the USA move, saying that "Haley's decision was of great importance to Israel".

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 USA recognition of the Golan Heights would be a natural continuation of the current U.S. policy in the region.

US to Reject UN Resolution Calling on Israel to Return Golan Heights to Syria

The US' vote against the annual resolution signaled a dramatic shift in Washington's policy toward the territory, as it used to abstain in previous cases. Israel moved settlers into the area and annexed the territory in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.

The resolution, which was adopted during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly's Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee), expresses deep concern that the Syrian Golan, occupied since 1967, has been under continued Israeli military occupation. "The United States will vote no", the statement said.

American support for Israel has strengthened under President Donald Trump, who moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and backed out of the nuclear agreement with Iran, a cherished goal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US ambassador stressed that: "This decision does nothing to convince any party to reach a peace agreement", adding: "The atrocities that the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its illegality to govern anyone and the destructive influence of the Iranian regime inside Syria represents major threats to worldwide security".

"It is time the world distinguishes those who stabilise the region from those who sow terror", he said, in a message that Haley retweeted.

Israeli officials were quick to praise the decision by the United States.

However, in a late August visit to Israel, National Security Advisor John Bolton said "there's no discussion of it, no decision within the US government".

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