The vote followed US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s announcement that Washington plans to reject a UN General Assembly resolution on the Golan Heights region given the document’s “anti-Israel bias”.
A resolution urging Israel to withdraw from the entirety of the Golan Heights has been adopted by the majority of the countries represented in the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The Syrian Golan resolution was approved by a vote of 99 in favor, 10 against and 66 abstentions during the UNGA’s Friday session.
The document declared that Israel’s decision to extend its legislation on the Golan Heights is null and void and that the Jewish state should withdraw from the strategically-important territory.
Munzer Munzer, acting charge d’affaires of Syria’s permanent delegation to the UN, accused Israel of continuing to occupy “a precious part of our land” as Syrian people there “continue to suffer because of this occupation.”
“My country reiterates that Syria’s sovereign right over the occupied Syrian Golan up to the June 4th 1967 line is not up for negotiation or relinquishment, nor can it ever be subject to prescription, and that our occupied lands and rights will be fully restored to us and Israel and its settlers must leave our lands in the Golan sooner or later,” Munzer was cited by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) as saying.
In mid-November, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley signaled Washington’s desire to vote against the UNGA resolution, referring to the document’s “anti-Israel bias, as well as the militarization of the Syrian Golan border and a worsening humanitarian crisis.”
Earlier, the Israeli newspaper Hayom quoted US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as saying that he believes that Washington could recognize the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as part of the Jewish state. He added that he expects the Golan Heights to remain under Israeli control “forever”, and that he “cannot imagine a situation” in which the area is returned to Syria.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton, for his part, said that the Trump administration was not discussing any possible recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.
The UN, which did not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the region, brokered a Syrian-Israeli armistice in 1974, urging Israel to leave parts of the Golan Heights.
In 1981, Israel adopted a law extending its jurisdiction over the territory, de-facto annexing the Golan Heights. The law has never been recognized internationally, and the dispute between Syria and Israel over the territory has yet to be resolved.