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Trump Admin Moves Toward Recognizing Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights

17 November 2018

The US will oppose for the first time a United Nations resolution that calls for Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights, in a symbolic move on an issue that Israel has been lobbying hard for since Donald Trump entered office.

"The resolution is plainly biased against Israel".

In past years, the United States has abstained on the vote on the annual UN resolution entitled "The Occupied Syrian Golan", scheduled for later today (Friday, November 16). 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 chose to vote no", she wrote.

The Golan Heights form a buffer between Israel and Syria of about 1,200 square km (460 square miles). "Further, the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone".

And, while Haley's vote won't keep the resolution from passing, it will certainly upset the balance of worldwide diplomacy vis-a-vis the Israeli-Arab conflict by signaling that the USA now accepts the Jewish state's maintaining long-term control over the Golan. ISIS and other terrorist groups remain in Syria.

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Israel occupied the Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War, capturing it from Syria. "And this resolution does nothing to bring any parties closer to a peace agreement", Haley added.

But the USA envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced on Thursday that the country would vote against the general assembly resolution, which is a non-binding motion voted on every year that is still likely to pass.

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

"I thank Ambassador Haley for her continued steadfastness with Israel and the truth".

U.S. Political Advisor Samantha Sutton, in remarks to the committee on Friday, said that United Nations resolutions frequently blame Israel for problems in the region, without mentioning terrorist acts by Hamas.

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The non-binding resolution is voted on every year by the UN General Assembly's Third Committee.

The U.S. does not recognize Israel's claim to the territory but U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in September that he could not imagine a situation where it 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.

The UN also passed eight other measures which range from condemnations of Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank to renewing the mandate of a UN committee probing "Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories".

They were sponsored by a number of countries that have been scrutinized for their own human rights records, among them Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. 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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Trump Admin Moves Toward Recognizing Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights