“Contempt for international law” and “violation of UN resolutions”, this “recognition is null and void”, asserts Vladimir Safronkov, diplomat of the Russian mission to the UN.
The United States defended on Wednesday in the Security Council Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan, a position unanimously condemned by its 14 UN partners at an emergency meeting convened at Syria’s request.
“Disregard for international law” and “violation of UN resolutions”, this “recognition is null and void”, said Vladimir Safronkov, diplomat of the Russian mission to the UN.
From Belgium to Germany, Kuwait, China, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa and the Dominican Republic, all denounced a unilateral decision that breaks with the international consensus observed so far. Without being fooled by some.
The fact that Syria requested this emergency meeting is “cynical when the Syrian government violates UN resolutions”, “bombed schools and hospitals”, “used chemical weapons” against its people, gutted the German ambassador to the United Nations, Christoph Heusgen.
United for UNDUF
“The Golan is Syrian territory occupied by Israel” and “we demand that the territory of the Golan be liberated”, claimed his Kuwaiti counterpart, Mansour Al-Otaibi.
While stressing Israel’s right to ensure its security, the United States joined its Security Council partners in affirming the need to maintain the United Nations Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF) in the Golan. While Donald Trump’s decision could have had the logical consequence of a request to end the mission.
The decree signed by the American President on Monday “does not affect the 1974 Golan Heights Disengagement Agreement and does not jeopardize UNDOF’s mandate,” said a diplomat of the American mission to the UN, Rodney Hunter.
“UNDOF continues to have a vital role in preserving stability between Israel and Syria,” he insisted after paradoxically deploring military activities in the Golan Heights buffer zone that Blue Helmets are supposed to prevent by their presence.
“The United States is concerned about UN reports on ongoing military activities and the presence of Syrian armed forces in the buffer zone” and “information on a Lebanese “Hezbollah” presence in the area.
Present in the Golan since 1974, UNDOF has a thousand peacekeepers, whose mandate expires in June. Its annual cost is approximately $60 million.
The UN “humiliated”
“Syria condemns the recognition of Donald Trump” which amounts to “torpedoing international law and humiliating the United Nations”, said Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bachar Jaafari.
A strategic territory, particularly because of its water wealth, the Golan was conquered in 1967 by Israel during the Arab-Israeli war and annexed in 1981. Several UN resolutions grant the plateau the status of an illegally occupied territory.
Donald Trump’s decision follows his recognition in 2018 of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which had already been the subject of international opprobrium.
On Tuesday, during a meeting on the Middle East, French ambassador François Delattre warned against breaches of international order. The foundations of a lasting peace in the Middle East, on which the international community has agreed, “are not options or a menu from which it would be possible to draw as much as one wishes,” he argued.
On Wednesday, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said that “for 19 years, Syria had used the Golan as an advanced position against Israel”. “Today, it is Iran that wants to put its soldiers on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias). Israel will never accept this to happen and it is time for the international community to recognize that the Golan will remain under Israeli sovereignty forever.
At the same time, the Syrian defence was repelling an Israeli air attack near Aleppo (north), according to the official Syrian news agency Sana. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) claimed that the Israeli strikes had hit “ammunition warehouses belonging to Iranian forces and allied groups, causing huge explosions” and killing four people.
In January, Israel had already hit Iran’s positions in Syria after intercepting a rocket fire from that country. According to the OSDH, 21 people, mainly Iranians, were killed in these attacks.