128-9, UN rejects U.S recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital
On Thursday the United Nations General Assembly inordinately voted in protest against President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, mainly turning deaf ears on his threat to cease aid to any country that went against his decision.
Passed by a vote of 128-9, the nonbinding resolution declared U.S. action on Jerusalem “null and void” and was deemed a victory for the Palestinians. 35 of the 103 U.N. member nations abstained from voting, and 21 others were absent.
Yemen and Turkey sponsored the resolution; re-affirming what has been the United Nations’ stand on the divided holy city since 1967: Jerusalem’s final status must be determined in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said afterward that he rejects the “preposterous” resolution.
The United States and Israel wavered an intensive lobbying campaign against the resolution, with U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley sending letters to over 180 countries warning that Washington would be taking names of those who voted against the U.S.
When it came to the vote, primary U.S. aid recipients including Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa supported the resolution.
Nine countries are voting “no” were the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands and Togo. Among the notable abstentions were Australia, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic and Mexico. Absent countries included Kenya, which was the fifth-largest recipient of U.S. aid last year, Georgia and Ukraine, all of which have close U.S. ties.
The U.S. is scheduled to dispense $25.8 billion in foreign aid for 2018. Whether Trump follows through with his threat against those who voted “yes” will remain to be seen.
Trump’s threat had raised the stakes at Thursday’s emergency meeting and sparked accusations of U.S. bullying, blackmail, and intimidation.
Arab, Islamic and non-aligned nations brushed aside his warnings and urged a “yes” vote on the resolution.
Yemeni Ambassador Khaled Hussein Mohamed Alyemany warned that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem undermines any chance for peace in the Mideast and “serves to fan the fires of violence and extremism.”
Alyemany called Trump’s action “a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations, and all Muslims and Christians of the world,” and “a dangerous violation and breach of international law.”
Having flown to New York for the meeting, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, called the U.S. action “an aggression on the status of Jerusalem” and said, “Those who want peace must vote for peace today.”
On Wednesday, Trump complained Americans are tired of being taken advantage of by countries that take billions of dollars and then vote against the U.S. He said he would be watching the vote: “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
Haley echoed his words in her speech to the packed assembly chamber, threatening not only member states with funding cuts but the United Nations itself.
Haley said the vote would make no difference on the U.S. plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but it “will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N., and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N.”
“And this vote will be remembered,” she warned.
Palestinians and their Arab and Islamic supporters sought the General Assembly vote after the U.S. on Monday vetoed a resolution supported by the 14 other U.N. Security Council members that would require Trump to rescind his declaration on Jerusalem.