UN marks Palestine Day with fresh slew of resolutions condemning Israel
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UN marks Palestine Day with fresh slew of resolutions condemning Israel

In first, UK breaks with EU and votes against resolution calling on Israel to give Golan Heights back to Syria

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed speaking at the special meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29, 2017. (UN/Kim Haughton)
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed speaking at the special meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29, 2017. (UN/Kim Haughton)

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday passed six resolutions described by a watchdog group as “anti-Israel,” marking 70 years since the world body’s partition plan carved Mandate Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state that never came to be.

The measures were nearly identical to a yearly slate voted on by the body to mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, but in a marked shift, Britain voted against one of the resolutions, breaking with its European neighbors.

Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the historic UN resolution in favor of partitioning the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab. For the UN it was also declared the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” leading to a slew of annual resolutions, some of which condemned Israel and which were described as “one-sided” by pro-Israel monitoring group UN Watch.

For the first time, Britain voted against a resolution calling on Israel to give the Golan Heights to Syria, saying that the resolution, proposed by the Syrian regime, threatened to undermine the credibility of the UN.

The resolution does “little to advance peace or mutual understanding,” explained the UK delegate, adding that “it is unnecessary and disproportionate.”

“The Syrian regime’s intent is to use this additional resolution to deflect attention from its own criminal actions and indiscriminate slaughter of its own citizens,” he said. “The duty of the General Assembly is to draw attention to international humanitarian law violations, wherever they occur. This resolution risks discrediting that vital responsibility.”

The day was marked by the international body with one resolution which expressed “deep regret” that 50 years had passed “since the onset of the Israeli occupation and 70 years since the adoption of resolution 181 (II) on 29 November 1947 and the Nakba without tangible progress towards a peaceful solution.”

Another resolution condemned Israeli violence and “acts of terror” against Palestinians without any mention of violence committed by Palestinians.

The resolution expressed “grave concern also about all acts of violence, intimidation and provocation by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians, including children and properties,” and condemned “acts of terror by several extremist Israeli settlers.”

Another resolution was criticized for only using the Muslim name for Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

“This rebrands Judaism’s holiest site as solely an Islamic one,” the B’nai B’rith organization complained, in a statement that rejected the resolutions as part of an “anti-Israel narrative that is pervasive at the UN.”

Speaking at an event to mark the day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that the only path to peace was the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

“I remain convinced that the two-state solution is the only one for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” he said. “The resolution of this conflict would also create momentum for greater stability throughout the region.”

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