Earlier this week, Israel was elected to chair the UN Legal Committee. This was the first time since Israel joined the UN that the country has been elected to head one of the six permanent UN committees. Netanyahu: “It was an historic achievement for Israel in the United Nations.”
Danon Photo Credit: Danny Danon’s Facebook Page
Earlier this week, Israel was elected to chair the UN Legal Committee. While the role is primarily of a symbolic nature, the position will allow Israel to play a larger role in UN affairs. According to the Forward, Israel was a candidate for the Western European and Others Group and received the position with the support of 109 countries out of 175 votes that were cast.
According to the Forward, normally committee chairs are elected based upon consensus without a vote but opponents of the State of Israel called for a vote, prompting a sharp reaction from Deputy US Ambassador David Pressman: “Even a chair from Qaddafi’s Libya was elected by acclamation. A vote should not have been called today. We need a United Nations that includes Israel and that brings Israel closer, not one that systematically pushes Israel away.”
Israel was originally part of the Asia-Pacific group along with other Middle Eastern countries that are either openly hostile towards or cool towards the State of Israel. When Israel made the strategic move to transfer to the Western European and Others Group, Israel was granted the opportunity to have leadership roles and to play a more active role in the UN.
“We defeated Iran in the UN and made history,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon proclaimed. “Years after joining the UN and with the support of 109 countries, I was elected to head one of the 6 permanent UN committees. Iran, the Palestinians and anti-Israel officials tried to stop us and they failed. I thank the dozens of countries that stood behind Israel in this important struggle.”
“For all of those interested, the UN Legal Committee deals with sensitive international legal issues including the supplementary agreements for the Geneva Convention and global terrorism,” Danon explained. “One of the first issues that I will deal with is the formulation of an international convention to combat terrorism.”
“It was an historic achievement for Israel in the United Nations,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared. “For the first time since the establishment of the state, Israel was elected to chair the Legal Committee of the UN – one of six permanent committees of the organization – which deals with issues related to international law. I thank the 109 countries that stood on Israel’s side and supported the move, and I congratulate Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who will chair the committee. This accomplishment stands against the common claim of Israel’s diplomatic isolation.”