The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution calling on the US to reverse its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. One hundred and twenty eight countries backed the motion.
Nine states voted against the UN resolution and 35 nations abstained. The voting took place at a rare UN General Assembly (UNGA) emergency meeting, convened Thursday at the request of Arab and Muslim nations.
The outcome of the UNGA vote was hailed as a “victory” by Palestine. “We will continue our efforts in the United Nations and at all international forums to put an end to this occupation and to establish our Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudainah said.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister praised the decision after the vote, saying, that it “once again showed that dignity and sovereignty are not for sale.”
The voting was preceded by a number of member states explaining their stance on the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Turkey, which has led the Muslim opposition to the US Jerusalem declaration, was among the first to speak at the meeting. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed that only a two-state solution and sticking to the 1967 borders can be a foundation for a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. The minister said that since Jerusalem is the cradle for the “three monotheistic religions,” all of humanity should come together to preserve the status quo.
“The recent decision of a UN member state to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel violates the international law, including all relevant UN resolutions. This decision is an outrageous assault on all universal values,” Cavusoglu said.
US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley said that whatever decision is made by the UNGA, it will not influence Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Haley reminded UN members of the US’ generous contributions to the organization and said that the United States expects its will to be respected in return.
“When we make a generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognized and respected,” Haley said, adding that the vote will be “remembered” by the US and “make a difference on how the Americans look at the UN.”
Israeli envoy to the UN Danny Danon stated that Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, dating back to Biblical times, and the US decision only outlines the obvious. Danon went further and accused the UN of “double standards” and an “unbreakable bond of hypocrisy” with Palestine and prejudice against Israel.
“Those who support today’s resolution are like puppets. You’re puppets pulled by the strings of your Palestinian puppet masters. You’re like marionettes forced to dance, while the Palestinian leadership looks on with glee,” Danon told the gathering.
The US leadership earlier voiced threats towards UN member states which would back the UN resolution against its Jerusalem decision. Haley said Washington would be “taking names.”
Trump also suggested that countries which vote in favor of the resolution at the UN General Assembly will lose money. “Let them vote against us,” he said. “We’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars… we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
The US threats were condemned by Turkey, with the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stating that Trump “cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will.”
“I hope and expect the United States won’t get the result it expects from there (the UN General Assembly) and the world will give a very good lesson to the United States,” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara on Thursday ahead of the meeting.
On Monday, the US vetoed a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Jerusalem, which had demanded that the American decision to recognize the city as the Israeli capital be withdrawn. All other UNSC members voted in favor of the document.