In June, 1967, Syria, together with Egypt and Jordan, attacked Israel, and this became known as the Six- Day War. Israel captured the Sinai desert from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan from Syria.
The Golan Heights is an elevated area in which Syria had built bunkers, and many Israeli civilians had been killed by Syrian sniper fire, making farming and fishing very difficult. Israel had been willing to return the land to Syria in exchange for peace, but Syria rejected this offer. The Golan was transferred to Israeli sovereignty by the Israeli parliament in 1981.
Every year, the U.N. votes to condemn Israel for its control of the Golan. And every year, the U.S. abstains.
The United States opposed on Friday for the first time an annual draft resolution at the United Nations calling on Israel to rescind its authority over the occupied Golan Heights, drawing praise from Israeli officials.
The Golan Heights form a buffer between Israel and Syria of about 1,200 square km (460 square miles). Israel captured most of it from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the territory in 1981, a move not recognized internationally.
The United States has abstained in previous years on the “Occupied Syrian Golan” resolution, which declares Israel’s decision to impose its jurisdiction in the area “null and void,” but US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Thursday that Washington would vote against the resolution.
“The United States will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights,” she said in a statement….
Israeli officials praised the US move.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called it “extremely important,” saying on Twitter that “no sane person can believe that it (the Golan) should be given to Assad & Iran.”
Tehran has supported Assad during the civil war and Israel has been warning against Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.
Israel has closely monitored the fighting in Syria, where just across the Golan frontier battles have raged in clear view.
The US will no longer abstain when the UN engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights. The resolution is plainly biased against Israel; on Friday, we will vote no.
— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) November 15, 2018