Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon

Danon’s election as chair of the UN Legal Committee is an historic achievement for Israel, marking the first time that an Israeli representative will head a permanent committee.

After months of diplomatic efforts, Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, was elected chair of the Legal Committee on Monday. It is the first time since the Jewish state joined the UN in 1949 that an Israeli representative will head a permanent committee.

The UN’s Legal Committee (the Sixth Committee) deals with all of the organization’s activities regarding international law including the status of the additional protocols of the Geneva Conventions and coordinating its fight against terrorism. One of Danon’s first tasks in his new position will be to further the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

“I am proud to be the first Israeli elected to this position,” said Danon.  “Israel is a world leader in international law and in fighting terrorism. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our knowledge with the countries of the world.”

The victory followed a lengthy and difficult diplomatic battle led by the Israeli Mission to the UN in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem and Israeli embassies around the world. Countries from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which include many member-states hostile to Israel, ran a coordinated campaign attempting to block Danon’s appointment. Iran, the current chair of the NAM group, circulated a draft of a letter to UN member-states filled with anti-Israel fabrications and calling to reject the Israeli candidacy. The Iranian letter was not published and their attempt failed.

Danon’s Candidacy Gets Widespread Backing

“We will not allow dictatorships and anti-Israel countries to harm our standing in the international community. Those who tried to block our appointment would be well advised to take note of the jurisdiction of this committee, as they have much to learn about international law,” added Danon.  “We are a full member of the UN, and any attempt to deny us of our legal rights in this organization will be met with uncompromising rejection.”

Danon’s candidacy received widespread backing from many member states, led by the United States and the Europeans.

Prior to this appointment, Danon was first elected as the Western European and Others (WEOG) regional group’s candidate for the position. Then, following the objection by the Arab Group to approve the nomination, the General Assembly proceeded to elect Danon by a secret ballot. All 193 UN member states were eligible to take part in the election, after which Danon was congratulated by colleagues from around the world.

Source: Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN

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