GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday criticized Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights a day after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the disputed territory.
The U.N. 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 favor, 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.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Angus MacSwan