The United States stood against all the other 14 members of the United Nations Security Council as it cast its veto of an Egyptian-drafted resolution which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
Although neither the U.S. nor President Donald Trump were mentioned by name in the resolution, there was no uncertainty about its rejection of the recent recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital.
Minutes after the vote, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley for the veto.
“On Chanukah, you spoke …[with strength]. You lit a candle of truth. You dispelled the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies,” he said in a special video message.
The Palestinian Foreign Minister said following the vote that they will call for an emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to counter the veto.
“We are moving within 48 hours … to call for an emergency meeting of the General Assembly,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters in Ramallah. He said the international community would “consider the decision by President Trump as null and void.”
Unlike, the Security Council, General Assembly resolutions have no binding authority.
The one-page, Egyptian-drafted text expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,” though it does not specifically mention the United States or Pres. Trump. Diplomats say the resolution has broad support among the 15-member council, and while it is unlikely to be adopted, the vote would further isolate Pres. Trump on the issue.
“I believe the resolution will be vetoed,” Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters ahead of the vote.
“We call on all sides to come and negotiate, that is the only way to move forward. Not to come to the Security Council or to the General Assembly, it’s a waste of time. The only way to move forward is by direct negotiations,” Danon said.
The draft resolution “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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”
The draft also calls upon all countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in the city.
Britain and France both said they would vote in favor of the resolution. “It is in line with previous Security Council resolutions,” British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.
Before the vote, U.N. Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov briefed the council on Monday on the implementation of a resolution adopted in December 2016 that demanded an end to Israeli building in Yehudah and Shomron. He said that “no such steps” had been taken by Israel.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley gave a spirited defense of U.S. policy and a stinging critique of the Obama administration ahead of the vote on Monday.
Haley said that while Resolution 2334 described Israeli settlements as impediments to peace, “in truth it was Resolution 2334 that was an impediment to peace. The Security Council put the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians further out of reach by injecting itself yet again in between the parties to the conflict.”
While she did not say how Washington would vote, she said after Mladenov’s briefing that the United States would not make the same mistake it made last year.
“Given the chance to vote again on resolution 2334,” she said, “I can say with complete confidence that the U.S. would vote ‘no’, we would exercise our veto power.”
She further characterized as a “stain on America’s conscience” that the U.S. gave the Boycott Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement “momentum by allowing the passage of 2334.”
The resolution demanding an end to settlements was approved with 14 votes in favor and an abstention by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, which defied heavy pressure from Israel and Pres. Trump, who was then president-elect, for Washington to wield its veto.
As for the specific objection to American intentions to move its embassy to Yerushalayim, she said: “I will not use council’s time to address where a sovereign nation might decide to put its embassy, and why we have every right to do so.”
In a blunt remark after the vote, Haley said that the U.S. “will not be told, by any country, where we will put our embassy.”
Israel’s ambassador Danny Danon said on Monday that no Security Council resolution can change the historical fact that Yerushalayim is the capital of Israel.
“Members of the Council can vote again and again — for a hundred more times. It won’t change the simple fact that Jerusalem is, has been, and always will be the capital of Israel,” Danon told the members.
He also thanked the U.S. for “standing with Israel and staying loyal to the truth.”
A Palestinian official called the veto “unacceptable.”