UN rights body calls for halt to Israeli expansion in Syrian Golan
March 22 2019 06:27 PM
Israeli soldiers stand on tanks near the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupi
Israeli soldiers stand on tanks near the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel May 9, 2018.


* Vote on annual resolution comes a day after Trump move
* OIC resolution easily adopted; European countries split
* Syrian envoy says UN text "sends a clear message"

The UN Human Rights Council on Friday criticised Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights a day after US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the disputed territory.
The UN rights forum adopted an annual resolution on the Syrian Golan, brought by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with 26 states in favour, 16 against and 5 abstentions.
European members including Britain voted against it. The United States, which quit the Council last year accusing it of an anti-Israel bias, does not participate.
"Voting for such a resolution should send a clear message... to the occupying power and to all who support Israel inside this Council and outside," Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Hussam Edin Aala, told the talks.
"The United States is justifying the practices by the Israeli occupation and ignoring Security Council resolutions," he said. "The occupied Syrian Golan was and shall remain Arab and Syrian."
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East conflict and annexed the area in 1981 - a move not recognized internationally.
The resolution called on Israel to stop building settlements, to stop imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on Syrian citizens in the Golan, and to cease repressive measures.
Israel's ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter rejected the resolution, among five condemning it on Friday, including one on its killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza. It said the council was biased against Israel and needed reform.

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