UN set to vote Friday on slew of measures critical of Israel… and only Israel

World body will not take up a single resolution on any other nation; head of monitor group calls ‘planned assault’ on Jewish state ‘surreal’

Illustrative: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 73rd United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2018, in New York. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)
Illustrative: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 73rd United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2018, in New York. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

The United Nations General Assembly is set to vote Friday on nine resolutions critical of Israel and none against any other country.

The 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,” 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.

Some of the resolutions, such as one reaffirming the mandate of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, were sponsored by European states such as Ireland, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal and Sweden.

“The UN’s planned assault on Israel with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the UN Watch monitor group.

Neuer noted the vote on the resolutions came just days after Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip launched some 460 rockets toward Israel. “The world body now adds insult to injury,” he said.

Another resolution set to be voted on was a Syrian-backed measure calling on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized internationally.

Israeli Merkava Mark IV tanks take positions near the Syrian border in the Golan Heights on May 10, 2018. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Late Thursday, the United States Mission to the UN said it would vote against the resolution, marking the first time the US will do so.

“After the Syrian regime has killed half a million of its own people, how can the UN call for more people to be handed over to Assad’s rule? The text is morally galling, and logically absurd,” Neuer said.

He also applauded US Ambassador Nikki Haley for declaring she would vote against the measure.

The non-binding resolution, which is voted on by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee each year, takes issue with the “illegality of the decision” taken by Israel “to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan,” which it says is illegal under international law.

“The atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone,” Haley said in a statement.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley listens as Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari speaks after a vote on a resolution during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, on April 14, 2018, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Israel has reportedly pressed the White House in recent months to recognize the annexation, arguing that the bloody civil war in Syria undergirded Israeli claims that the plateau is critical to maintaining security.

In August, Syrian government forces backed by Iran and Russia reached the frontier with the Israeli Golan Heights after capturing the territory from rebels and Islamic State fighters.

Though it has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian conflict, Israel has acknowledged carrying out dozens of airstrikes there to stop deliveries of advanced weaponry bound for Iranian proxy Hezbollah.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks to reporters ahead of a Security Council meeting on May 30, 2018 (Courtesy)

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed the US announcement, saying in a statement that “the change in the American voting pattern is another testament to the strong cooperation between the two countries.”

“It is time for the world to distinguish between those who stabilize the region and those who sow terror,” he added.

While a “no” vote from the US is unlikely to stop the resolution passing, it could be a sign that the Trump administration is considering recognizing Israeli control over the Golan.

In September, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that he expects the annexed territory to remain under Israeli control “forever.”

“I cannot honestly imagine a situation in which the Golan Heights is not part of Israel forever,” Friedman told the Israel Hayom daily.

But during a visit to Israel a month earlier, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said there were no discussions on such recognition.

“Obviously we understand the Israeli claim that it has annexed the Golan Heights – we understand their position – but there’s no change in the US position for now,” he told the Reuters news agency in an interview.

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