Arab representatives abstained on the proposal on farming technology for political reasons, even when it hurt their own country.
In a rare turn of events, Israel received almost unanimous support at the United Nations last week for its proposal to further the dissemination of agricultural and farming technology to developing African nations.
Despite of the humanitarian nature of the proposal, it was met with vehement opposition from representatives of Arab nations, including some that will be helped by the proposal.
Regardless of the aid the proposal would provide to African countries who are suffering from drought and malnutrition, Arab nations, some of whom sit on the United Nations human rights council, did not vote in favor of the proposal for political reasons.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the support that was almost unanimous in the UN plenum, despite its long history of castigating and condemning Israel.
“We worked on the proposal for a long time, and we were very happy that it passed with a strong voice,” said Danon, who also mentioned that it was “strange to hear the opposition of the Arab countries regarding a proposal that was meant to help them as well.”
“There were no votes against us, but there were a lot of abstentions. But even before the vote, the Syrian representative, as well as the Palestinian Authority representative spoke against the right of Israel to submit proposals to the UN. They tried to make the situation political, and take it out of the framework of helping people.”
The Syrian delegation called for the vote on the proposal, but abstained from participating, not wanting to vote against the proposal that would help countries in need, but also not wanting to vote in favor of a proposal put forth by Israel.
Of the countries who voted, 124 voted in favor of the proposal and 37 abstained according to the numbers provided by Danon.
“This proposal should have passed unanimously,” Danon said. “All other proposals of this nature passed unanimously in the past.” However, due to the sway of the Arab bloc, even a truly humanitarian vote was not unanimous due to political maneuvering and anti-Israel sentiment put forth by the bloc.
“With the content they had no issues whatsoever. The abstention votes came because those countries stand against Israel’s right to exist in the UN and for our right have a place among the nations,” Danon added.
Overall Danon viewed the proposal as an important achievement for Israel. “From a technological perspective it was certainly important. Many people in the UN are interested in Israeli technology and want to learn from us. It is something that I will be working hard towards promoting in the UN in the coming year.”