A senior Palestinian official said Saturday the appointment of the Israeli envoy to the United Nations as vice president of the UN General Assembly rewards Israel’s “lawlessness” and control over the West Bank.
Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon was elected to the position as a representative of the Western European and Others (WEOG) group last week. He will chair General Assembly meetings when the president is absent, have a say in setting the agenda and oversee debates.
Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement the promotion is “tantamount to giving support for the occupation and rewarding Israel’s [acting with] impunity and lawlessness,” the official Palestinian WAFA news agency reported on Saturday.
“Israel is the one country that continues to maintain a cruel and illegal occupation of another nation; it has been living and acting outside the law, willfully defying international law and international humanitarian law and adamantly refusing to implement any and all UN resolutions pertaining to its military occupation and system of apartheid and colonialism,” Ashrawi said.
Danon will begin his one-year term with the opening of the Seventy-Second Session of the General Assembly in September.
“It is an honor to represent the State of Israel in this leadership position at the United Nations,” Danon said in a statement following his appointment. “We have proven once again that Israel is ready and able to serve in significant positions in the UN and the attempts to block this progress will not succeed.”
Danon was elected to the position as a representative of the Western European and Others (WEOG) group. He will chair General Assembly meetings when the president is absent, have a say in setting the agenda and oversee “the rules and decorum during the sessions,” his statement read.
“Israel has intensified its campaign to assume official positions within UN bodies, emboldened by the support it is receiving from both the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) and the intensive campaign by the US and its representative to harass and intimidate any bodies or states that seek to hold Israel accountable,” Ashrawi said.
Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajcak was elected as UNGA president.
There are 21 vice presidents of the General Assembly. Former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, also served in the role in 2012.
In May 2016, Danon became the first Israeli diplomat to chair the UNGA’s legal committee, the Sixth Committee, with 109 member states. He is the first Israeli to chair a permanent committee at the UN.