United Nations General Assembly Hall in the UN Headquarters, New York. [Photo credit: Basil D Soufi]
In the latest efforts by the United Nations (UN) to isolate Israel, the international body passed six resolutions against Israel. The anti-Israel sentiment at the UN is nothing new, but there was a new development by the United Kingdom (UK) that did not go unnoticed. The UK voted in favor of Israel continuing their control of the Golan Heights. This past Thursday, for the first time ever, the UK joined the United States and Canada in opposition to the UN resolution condemning Israel’s control over the Golan Heights, Arutz Sheva reported.
The resolution, which passed 106-6 with 58 abstentions, condemns Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan, which it took from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. It calls Israel’s presence “a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.” The text resembles previous resolutions passed annually at the General Assembly with Syrian or Arab sponsorship.
Part of the resolution which was put to a vote declared, “The Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and has no validity whatsoever.” Of course, the reason for Israel’s decision or the multiple wars (emphasis on the plural “wars”) launched against her from the Golan Heights by Syria was not mentioned in the document. Also lacking from the discussion (if you could call it that) was the tremendous slaughter of innocent civilians by the Syrian government over the course of the years-long civil war, the frequent human rights violations by the Syrian government in recent years, the incredibly unstable government in Syria or the fact that Israel’s track record is the exact opposite of Syria in all the above mentioned areas.
The British delegate at the UN’s General Assembly told the assembly he voted no because, “resolutions which undermine the credibility of UN bodies risk hardening positions on both sides, and do little to advance peace or mutual understanding,” he said. “It is unnecessary and disproportionate.”
Hadas Meitzad, Israel’s delegate at the UN, said: “Two draft resolutions discussed the Temple Mount, a sacred place for all three Abrahamic religions, but had deliberately omitted any reference to the Jewish or Christian connections to the holy site. The international community must stop participating in such blatant denial of history. The draft resolution “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (document A/72/L.15) stated that the establishment of the State of Israel was a catastrophe, which amounted to a denial of her country’s right to exist. On the draft resolution “The Syrian Golan” (document A/72/L.17), she said the situation in Syria was dire and Israel was helping thousands of injured Syrians in their hospitals, free of charge. Despite the reality on the ground, “absurdity prevailed” in the General Assembly, she said, emphasizing that the draft resolutions offered only one-sided accounts and asking delegates to vote against the drafts if they truly sought to help the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
Also on Thursday, the General Assembly passed another five resolutions on Israel, Judea, and Samaria that contain critical language on Israel, including a text on Jerusalem that called the Temple Mount, by its Islamic name only. That text passed 151-6, with nine abstentions.
Another resolution called on the United Nations to observe an “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” on Nov. 29, the 1947 date that the Security Council adopted a plan for the partition of the Israel, paving the way to the modern state of Israel’s creation.
Although, the United Kingdom voted in favor of other anti-Israel resolutions, I am hopeful that the UK’s significant vote on Thursday will be a turning point for the UK and will bring increasingly more favorable votes for Israel in the years to come.