Haley Announces Flip on Golan Heights Resolution to 'No'

Lester Mason
November 17, 2018

The United States plans to reject a UN General Assembly resolution that urges Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria, according to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

The resolution passed 151-2 (with 14 abstentions) and came as part of a broader package of anti-Israel resolutions that passed a marathon General Assembly committee hearing on Friday morning.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon thanked the United States for the move and said the "UN should deal with Syria's civil war, not meaningless decisions that won't affect Israel's sovereignty in the Golan Heights".

Haley, however, said on Friday that "the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone".

It also calls upon Israel "to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and from its repressive measures against the population of the occupied Syrian Golan".

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.

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. Yet as the regime run by Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Iranian and Russian Federation help, has beaten back most rebel groups operating in southern Syria and re-established control of the region, Israel has grown increasingly concerned with Iran establishing a permanent presence on the Syrian side of the border.

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".

The US will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights.

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon welcomed the US move and called it "another testament to the strong cooperation between the two countries".

He added that he expects the Golan Heights to remain under Israeli control "forever", saying that he "cannot imagine a situation" in which the area is returned to Syria.

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

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan also commented on Twitter: "The Golan is part of Israel and it will always be".

However, Israel has also been pressing United States diplomats on other issues. "Israel in the Golan Heights is a fact the global community must acknowledge", he said. Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, breaking with other world powers, though his national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters in August a similar Golan move was not under discussion.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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