On Monday, Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon made history, becoming the first Israeli representative ever chosen to lead a permanent committee at the UN.
Following months of diplomatic efforts, Danon was elected to lead the United Nations Legal Committee.
The UN Legal Committee, the international organization’s sixth committee, manages all of the United Nations’ international law operations, covering everything from enforcement of the Geneva Conventions to coordinating the global fight against terrorism.
As chair of the Legal Committee, Danon will be charged with be to expand the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
“I am proud to be the first Israeli elected to this position,” said Ambassador 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 election was preceded by a long and strenuous diplomatic effort by Israel’s Mission to the UN, working in tandem with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem and Israeli embassies around the world.
Despite efforts by members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which include many member-states hostile to Israel, to block Ambassador Danon’s election, enough votes were secured on Monday to ensure Danon would chair the committee.
Iran, which currently chairs the Non-Aligned Movement, headed the effort to bar Danon’s election, circulating a letter containing various anti-Israel canards to other member states.
“We will not allow dictatorships and anti-Israel countries to harm our standing in the international community,” said Danon.
“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. 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 for the chairmanship was supported by the United States and a number of European countries.