This is the transcript from the UN General Assembly's Second Committee meeting of December 16, 2005. It provides very revealing evidence of the nature of UN operations. A subject that previously had been dealt with by consensus, was transformed into a political battlefield merely as a consequence of an attempt to mention Israel in a non-condemnatory context.
The subject of controversy was pro-forma language welcoming the holding of a future conference in Israel on the subject of desertification. ("Welcoming also the decision of the Government of Israel to host, in cooperation with other stakeholders, an international conference entitled 'Deserts and Desertification: Challenges and Opportunities' in Be'er Sheva, Israel, in November 2006.") The language suggested was identical to the language in another paragraph, about a similar conference to be held in Algeria. The Israeli conference was included only after a vote.
However, the price eventually extracted for the mere uncritical mention of Israel was the inclusion of a new paragraph which condemned Israel once again. The Arab group introduced the condemnation as a new amendment, which was adopted by another vote. ("Deeply concerned also at the extensive destruction by Israel, the occupying Power, of agricultural land and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the uprooting of a vast number of fruit-bearing trees.")
The upshot was that one more resolution condemning the state of Israel was added at the 2005 General Assembly, in a vote of 120 in favor, 1 against and 47 abstentions. The only country voting against the resolution was Syria, which objected to any mention of Israel without criticism - in this case a mere Israeli desertification conference. Israel, and many other countries, were forced to abstain on the whole subject of desertification because of the Arab Group's success in adding the language condemning Israel.
The whole episode makes the political map of the UN very clear. A simple matter like desertification was taken from a consensus issue to a matter of controversy and divisiveness solely by Arab states that continue to object to peace with Israel and which have the UN in a chokehold.