Defying Trump threat, UN rejects US decision on Jerusalem

This article is more than 12 months old

128-to-nine vote a 'massive setback' for US

UNITED NATIONS Defying United States President Donald Trump's threat to cut off funding, the United Nations (UN) approved by a resounding vote on Thursday a motion rejecting the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The 193-member General Assembly adopted the resolution by 128 to nine with 35 abstentions, in what Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour called a "massive setback" for the US.

An additional 21 countries did not turn up for the vote.

It included Ukraine, which had supported the same resolution in the Security Council, indicating that the US threats did have a chilling effect on some governments.

Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo joined the US in opposing the measure.

Among the countries that abstained were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Romania and Rwanda.

Speaking at the emergency session, US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned that the US "will remember this day".

"America will put our embassy in Jerusalem," Mrs Haley said in defence of the US move, which broke with international consensus and unleashed protests across the Muslim world.

"No vote in the UN will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN.

"When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognised and respected."

The resolution reaffirms that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations, and that any decision reached outside of that framework must be rescinded.

Without explicitly referencing the US move, it "affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the vote showed the "illegality" of Mr Trump's decision.

The motion was sent to the General Assembly after it was vetoed by the US at the Security Council on Monday, although all other 14 council members voted in favour.

While resolutions by the General Assembly are non-binding, a strong vote in support carries political weight.

Ahead of the vote, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the UN as a "house of lies", saying Israel "rejects outright this vote, even before it passes".

"No General Assembly resolution will ever drive us from Jerusalem," vowed Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon. - AFP