Israel and Syria Take Issue with the UN, and Each Other

Published November 13th, 2017 - 02:11 GMT
Israel has come in for repeated criticism from the U.N. (AFP)
Israel has come in for repeated criticism from the U.N. (AFP)
  • Criticism of the United Nations has become a unifying factor for Israel and Syria, two of the Middle East's greatest foes
  • Israel, Syria, Iran and Myanmar have all been criticized at the U.N. in recent times
  • Both Israel and Syria have attempted to cover their own alleged misdeeds by pointing out issues with neighboring countries.
  • Both countries believe that they are being unfairly treated by the international body.

During a time when the Middle East may seem more divided than ever, the region’s major players have found common ground - criticism of the United Nations.

However, rather than unifying the nations of the region as planned, the international body has instead become a soapbox for the big players to play out regional disputes on a global stage.

In November the U.N. passed a series of resolutions criticising countries across the planet for human right violations and other crimes.

Israel is among the countries most critical of the United Nations in recent months.

On one hand, the Zionist state has criticised the United Nations for not doing enough to enforce agreements put in place against Hezbollah following the Israeli-Lebanese conflict in 2006.

“In recent years, the organization [Hezbollah] has expanded its activity in Lebanese territory in a systematic violation of U.N. resolutions,” Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Katz made the comments ahead of a visit to the United States to discuss U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 with U.N. representatives.

The agreement ended the bloody battle between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and urges the Lebanese government to control its country.

Days later pro-Israeli NGO “U.N. Watch” slammed the General Assembly for issuing nine resolutions against Israel.

Hillel Neuer said the move was “part of its annual ritual of enacting 20 Arab-sponsored resolutions singling out the Jewish state, and making no mention of Hamas stabbings, shootings or vehicular attacks against Israelis.”

At the same time, the U.N. also planned to pass resolutions criticising Iran, Myanmar, and Syria alongside North Korea, Crimea, and the United States.

“Even after Syrian president Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people within the past year, the U.N. is about to adopt a resolution — drafted and co-sponsored by Syria — which falsely condemns Israel for ‘repressive measures’ against Syrian citizens on the Golan Heights. It’s obscene,” said Neuer.

“While there will be a total of 20 resolutions against Israel this session, not a single U.N. General Assembly resolution is planned today or this year for gross human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela, China, Cuba, Pakistan or Zimbabwe,” he added.

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s allies in Moscow also butted heads with western powers over the U.N. probe into the alleged chemical weapons attack the town of Khan Sheikhoun and a mustard gas attack at Um Hosh in Aleppo in September 2016.

Moscow dismissed the results of a report blaming the Assad regime for the attacks as "mythical or invented" at the U.N. Security Council in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari also had rather different concerns when speaking at the U.N. General Assembly last week.

“The West is responsible for supplying nuclear technology to Israel… They are causing the entire world to turn a blind eye to Israel’s position on the nuclear issue,” he said.              
The ambassador even boasted that Syria had been one of the first countries to sign the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The Syrian official was also noticeably quiet on Damascus ally Iran’s nuclear program at a time when the issue is a hot topic for international powers.

On Sunday, Tehran said the country’s controversial nuclear deal is “not negotiable” following remarks by French president Emmanuel Macron in a media interview with Emirati daily Al-Ittihad.     

“It is important to remain firm with Iran over its regional activities and its ballistic program,” the French leader said.

He also said that there was no current alternative to the nuclear deal. 

However, his comments, which hinted that the deal might be changed received a blistering response from Tehran.
“We have told French leaders on several occasions that the Iran nuclear deal is not negotiable and that no other issues can be included in the text” of the 2015 agreement, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bassam Ghassemi told state media.

He said that Paris is “fully aware of our country’s intangible position concerning the issue of Iran’s defensive affairs which are not negotiable.”

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