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US objects to UN condemnation of Israel Golan Heights occupation

The Israeli (L) and Syrian (C) flags flutter at the crossing between the Israeli-controlled side of the annexed Golan Heights and Syria after the reopening of the only crossing between the two sides near Quneitra on October 15, 2018 [JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images]
The Israeli (L) and Syrian (C) flags flutter at the crossing between the Israeli-controlled side of the annexed Golan Heights and Syria after the reopening of the only crossing between the two sides near Quneitra on 15 October 2018 [JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images]

The US envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Friday that she intended to veto a draft resolution to be presented to the General Assembly condemning the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.

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.

However the ambassador, who leaves her post at the end of November following her resignation last month, decided to oppose the decision, citing the crimes of the Syrian regime and that the resolution does not push towards peace.

Haley said in a statement to reporters in New York on the eve of the vote that: "Former US administrations have abstained from voting on the illogical draft resolution, but the current administration considers the resolution to be put to a vote clearly biased against Israel."

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 international security."

Read: Syria protests at UN over Israel elections in occupied Golan Heights

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

Israel's Defence Minister Gilad Erdan added that:

Now is the time for the next step, pushing for international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The Golan is part of Israel and will be so forever. There is no sane [person] who believes that the Golan will return to the murderous regime of Al-Assad, as well as the Iranian regime which seeks to establish another Hezbollah in the region.

The draft resolution presented yesterday states that: "The Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 to impose the laws, jurisdiction and administration of Israel on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and has no validity at all, as affirmed by the Security Council in its resolution No. 497 of 1981."

The draft resolution also calls upon Israel to "reverse its decision" and reaffirms that "all relevant provisions of the Statute annexed to the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, are still valid on Syrian territory which Israel has occupied since 1967".

It is noteworthy that the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has recognised the sovereignty of Israel over the occupied Golan Heights. In September, Friedman said in an interview with Israel Hayom that: "The Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty and will not be returned to Syria." "I cannot imagine a situation in which the Golan Heights is not part of Israel forever," he added.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights during the Six Day War of 1967 and illegally moved settlers into the area. In 1981 Israel announced its annexation of the Golan Heights, in a unilateral action that did not receive international recognition.

Israel has been exerting pressure on US authorities to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the occupied territory amid expectations that it would achieve its goal within a few months, according to statements by Israel's Intelligence and Communications Minister Yisrael Katz.

Read: Israel: Voting opens in municipal elections amid protests in occupied Golan Heights

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