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Haley Announces Flip from Longstanding U.S. Abstention on Golan Heights Resolution to 'No'

An Israeli soldier opens the border gates as an UN vehicle enters Syria in Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights on Oct. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

For the first time, the United States plans to vote “no” today instead of abstaining on an annual United Nations resolution slamming “continued Israeli military occupation” of the Golan Heights.

In past years, the resolution has called upon Israel “to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and in particular to desist from the establishment of settlements.”

It also calls upon Israel “to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and from its repressive measures against the population of the occupied Syrian Golan.”

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations cited as the reasons for the change from abstention to “no” the “resolution’s anti-Israel bias, as well as the militarization of the Syrian Golan border, and a worsening humanitarian crisis.”

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley declared in a statement previewing the vote that “the United States will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights.”

“If this resolution ever made sense, it surely does not today. The resolution is plainly biased against Israel,” she said. “Further, the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone. The destructive influence of the Iranian regime inside Syria presents major threats to international security. ISIS and other terrorist groups remain in Syria.”

“And this resolution does nothing to bring any parties closer to a peace agreement. The United States will vote no.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursday with the State Department’s Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook.

Netanyahu praised recent sanctions against Iran as “the most important thing that has been done against the most aggressive power in the region that has to be rolled back.”

“I think the sanctions are a very important American step to establish peace in our region and peace in the world,” he added.