UN vote scolds US for recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

The United Nations General Assembly voted forcefully to reprimand the U.S. over its decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Thursday.

The UN resolution declined to specifically name the United States.  Rather, it preferred to harness language asserting unilateral moves such as President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital city were in conflict with UN bylaws, were legally groundless and must be rescinded.

Citing 10 prior resolutions on Jerusalem beginning in 1967 which state the future of Jerusalem be determined after final-status of negotiations between Israel and Palestine, the motion demands:

“All states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the holy city of Jerusalem, and not recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”

128 UN members voted in favor of the resolution; nine voted in opposition and 35 abstained.

A nonbinding resolution introduced by Turkey and Yemen, those nations voting against the motion include:  The U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo.  Canada, Australia and Mexico were among the abstentions.

Four UN Security Council (UNSC) members voted in favor of the measure — China, France, Russia, and the UK.

President Trump announced the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital and move the U.S. embassy to the city on Dec. 6.  The move touched off an avalanche of criticism in the region and ignited weeks of protests in Gaza.

Taking the podium to address the entire assembly, U.S. envoy Nikki Haley defended the U.S. decision, reminded member states of the U.S. role in the body and upbraided diplomats for its anti-Israel bias.

“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation.  We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations,” Haley stated before abruptly exiting the assembly.

Thursday’s vote follows a similar resolution which failed in the UNSC after a U.S. veto and ahead of a warning by Haley to UN member states which voted in favor of rebuking the U.S. would face a cut in American foreign aid.

“As you consider your vote, I want you to know that the President and U.S. take this vote personally. The President will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue,” she wrote in a letter to UNSC members.

Similarly, Thursday’s resolution follows a vote in which 176 member states expressed support for Palestinian statehood.

Refusing to await the expected outcome, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the resolution ahead of the vote.  Branding the UN a “house of lies,” Netanyahu said: “Israel completely rejects the vote even before it takes place.  Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build it, and the embassies of countries – first that of the United States – will move to Jerusalem.”


[BBC] [iPolitics] [Politico] [Jerusalem Post] [Photo courtesy AP via Washington Examiner]