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Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan elected vice president of UN General Assembly

New position will see envoy chairing General Assembly meetings and having a role in setting their agendas
While addressing the General Assembly in October, Erdan tore up the UN Human Rights Council's yearly report over its criticism of Israel's offensive against the Gaza Strip in May 2021 (UNTV)

Gilad Erdan, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations (UN), was elected on Tuesday as a vice president of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, despite objections from Iran and Syria.

Beginning in September, and lasting for one year, the new position will see Erdan chairing General Assembly meetings and have a role in setting their agendas.

While addressing the General Assembly in October, Erdan tore up the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) yearly report, copying former ambassador Chaim Herzog, who did the same in 1975 when the UN declared Zionism a form of racism.

Large sections of the report condemned Israel's offensive against the besieged Gaza Strip in May 2021, which killed 260 Palestinians and 13 people on the Israeli side.

Speaking on Tuesday, Erdan said: “this triumph sends a clear message to our enemies that they will not prevent us from participating in leading roles at the UN and in the international arena. 

"Hatred must never triumph over the truth. I won’t allow it.”

Erden will be one of 21 vice presidents during the annual session.

Danny Danon, Erdan's predecessor, was elected as one of the vice presidents of the 72nd session of the assembly in 2017.

Israel blamed

Erdan's election comes despite increasing anger over Israel's actions in the Palestinian occupied territories in recent months, including the killing on the 11 May of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces in Jenin.

On Wednesday, UN investigators concluded that Israel's occupation and discrimination against Palestinians were the main causes of the endless cycles of violence in Israel and the occupied territories.

Israel mainly to blame for Palestine conflict, says UN report
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A high-level team of investigators, appointed last year by the UNHRC to probe "all underlying root causes" in the decades-long conflict, pointed the finger squarely at Israel.

"Ending the occupation of lands by Israel... remains essential in ending the persistent cycles of violence," they said in the 18-page report, adding that there was ample evidence that Israel has "no intention" of doing so.

The report added that Israel was pursuing "complete control" over the occupied territories, including occupied East Jerusalem.

The commission said the Israeli government has been "acting to alter the demography through the maintenance of a repressive environment for Palestinians and a favourable environment for Israeli settlers".

Highlighting an Israeli law denying naturalisation to Palestinians married to Israeli citizens, the report accused Israel of providing "different civil status, rights, and legal protection" for Palestinian citizens of Israel.