Susan Roylance: Fiery clash between Israel and Syria disrupts poverty presentations at U.N.

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 6 2015 7:24 a.m. MDT

The Security Council meets to discuss the situation in Syria at United Nations headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012. (Associated Press) The Security Council meets to discuss the situation in Syria at United Nations headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012. (Associated Press)

UNITED NATIONS — Syria called Israel “terrorists” and Israel called Syria a "killing machine," Thursday at the U.N. Commission on Social Development.

The heated debate occurred during the country presentations of poverty eradication programs.

It is highly unusual for the chair to allow a country to interrupt the flow of country presentations with a spontaneous intervention, but the rules were bent on Thursday as Syria demanded the opportunity to respond to statements made by Israel in their country report.

Israel’s remarks are “naÏve allegations and heresy,” said the spokeswoman for Syria, as she claimed that Israel’s “occupation” of lands previously owned by Syria is “violating the social development rights” of the Syrian people. She also claimed they were damaging the agricultural land, contaminating the water, denying the people of their livelihoods – causing a loss of local economic stability and safety."

An Israel representative responded, accusing Syria of "wasting the delegates’ time by putting on a cynical side show.”

Following several hours of formal country presentations on poverty alleviation and social development, the fiery clash between the two countries shed light on some of the difficult realities of the world – where survival is more important than social development.

“Israel’s continued expansionist policies are a basic impediment to the Arab people and keeping them from achieving development,” claimed the Syria representative, "despite international resolutions calling for a halt to such activities."

Israel's spokeswoman shot back by saying that Syria’s statement had “nothing to do with reality, and nothing to do with Israel,” but the earlier remarks were, “trying to divert attention from the crimes against it’s own people.”

The atrocities in Syria are not reported because of the censorship of the media in Syria, an Israel representative claimed, referring to common allegations that Syrian women are raped and that there are repeated killings by the government of Syria.

“The fabrications cited by Israel do not even warrant a reply,” Syria's spokeswoman responded. She noted that it was a surprise to her, and her delegation, when the statement against Syria “suddenly appeared in the official statement of the Israeli delegation,” and claimed it was the aim of Israel to divert attention from their continual occupation.

“This will not conceal the fact that Israel is a country of Zionism and terrorism,” Syria's representative said.

Susan Roylance is the International Policy and Social Development Coordinator for the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society – sponsors of the World Congress of Families, and is in attendance to the meetings.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company