In First, U.N. OKs Israel-backed Appeal

By Marc Perelman

Published December 12, 2007, issue of December 14, 2007.
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In a historic first, a committee of the United Nations General Assembly adopted an Israeli-initiated resolution on working matters.

The resolution deals with agricultural technology for development, a relatively apolitical matter. But even such apolitical issues have not managed to squeeze past Arab opposition in the past.

Supported by 118 countries, the resolution was introduced early this year. There were 29 abstentions, mostly from Arab countries. It is all but certain to be formally adopted by the General Assembly soon.

“At the U.N., Israel is always portrayed through the lens of the Middle East conflict, and we have tried for years to get out of this exclusive prism,” said Daniel Carmon, deputy ambassador of Israel to the U.N. “We were able to push this professional, nonpolitical resolution through, despite attempts to politicize the issue.”

The first-ever resolution sponsored by Israel and adopted by the G.A. was the one establishing an annual Holocaust remembrance day, voted in November 2005. This week’s resolution was voted by the committee dealing with economic and financial issues.

After Syria publicly opposed the resolution, the Arab group decided to abstain. While Carmon said Israel had sought a consensus on the resolution, he said he “understood” the Arab group’s decision and noted that the group had not opposed it nor derailed it by filing amendments.

The resolution calls on developed countries to share their knowledge and know-how in the field of agricultural technology more accessible to the developing world and to help efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, a set of poverty-reduction benchmarks adopted by the U.N. in 2000.


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