For the first time, Britain opposes UN resolution on ‘Syrian Golan’
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For the first time, Britain opposes UN resolution on ‘Syrian Golan’

UK delegation tells the General Assembly they wouldn't back the move because it would 'do little to advance peace or mutual understanding'

Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights 

 Photo by: Ayal Margolin- JINIPIX
Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights Photo by: Ayal Margolin- JINIPIX

Britain for the first time joined the United States and Canada in opposing at the United Nations a resolution condemning Israel’s control over the Golan Heights and declaring it Syrian.

The British delegate voted No Thursday, he told the assembly, because “resolutions which undermine the credibility of UN bodies risk hardening positions on both sides, and do little to advance peace or mutual understanding,” he said. “It is unnecessary, and disproportionate.”

The resolution, which passed 106 to six with 58 abstentions, condemns Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan, which it took over from Syria in 1967, calling her presence “a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.” The text resembles previous resolution passed annually at the General Assembly with Syrian or Arab sponsorship.

Nearly half a million people have died in Syria since the outbreak in 2011 of a bloody civil war featuring atrocities by Sunni and Shi’ite militia and the regime of the country’s besieged dictator, Bashar Assad.

All other European Union countries abstained in the vote, as Britian had done in the past following the war’s outbreak.

The General Assembly passed another five resolutions on Israel and the Palestinian Territories that contain critical language on Israel, including a text on Jerusalem that called the Temple Mount, a holy site for Muslims and Jews, by its Islamic name only. That text passed 151 to six, with nine abstentions.

Another resolution called on the United Nations to observe “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” on 29 November, which is the date on which in 1947 the UN Security Council adopted a plan for the partition of the British Mandate on Palestine. Opposed by the Palestinians and accepted by Israel, it paved the way to Israel’s creation.

A fourth was titled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,” the fifth “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” and the sixth was called ““Special information program on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat.”

Separately, the UN International Criminal Court in The Hague decided not to pursue war crimes charges against Israel in the slaying of nine Turkish anti-Israel activists at sea in 2010. The activists were attempting to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza, which is controlled by the Hamas terrorist group. They beat and stabbed IDF soldiers who boarded their vessel, the Mavi Marmara, prompting IDF troops to open fire.

“The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction have been committed in the context of interception and takeover of the Mavi Marmara by IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) soldiers on 31 May 2010,” read the paper seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

But the lawyers decided the crimes in question were not of sufficient gravity to fall under the court’s jurisdiction, the papers added.

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