General Assembly Passes Resolution Against U.S. Recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s Capital

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestine Foreign and Expatriates Minister Riyad Malki speaks to the press after the United Nations General Assembly emergency special session on Thursday. (Reuters/Amr Alfiky)

By a vote of 128 in favor to 9 against and 35 abstaining, the United Nations General Assembly passed on Thursday a resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital.

The U.S., Israel, Togo, Micronesia, Guatemala, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands and Honduras voted against it.

The 35 abstentions included a number of countries who were widely expected to support the move, such as Colombia, Mexico, Malawi and Rwanda, indicating that an Israeli diplomatic lobbying campaign beforehand had some effect.

The abstentions also evinced cracks in the European Union stand, as Hungary, Croatia, Latvia, Romania and the Czech Republic broke ranks with fellow EU members.

Results of the UN General Assembly vote.

In response, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office stated that “Israel rejects the U.N. decision and at the same time expresses its satisfaction over the big number of countries that did not vote in favor of the decision. Israel thanks President Trump for his unequivocal stance in favor of Jerusalem and the countries that voted together with Israel, together with the truth.”

In a video statement released later Thursday night, Netanyahu said that “Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution.”

The vote shows that “not the whole world is part of this show,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanual Nachshon said immediately after the vote.

Nachshon’s statement was in contrast to media treatment, which generally described it as a “blow” to Trump in which over 100 countries “defied” him.

Haaretz noted that “among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution were India, Russia and China, all countries Netanyahu has touted as allies recently.”

The Palestinians, who had instigated the General Assembly vote after the U.S. blocked the resolution with its veto in the Security Council, thanked the countries who voted with them “despite all the pressure exerted on them.”

Even though the vote is not binding in any way and will not affect the U.S. decision, it provided the diplomatic boost that the Palestinians sought.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told the Wafa news agency that it reflects the support the Palestinians enjoy in the international community.

Rarely have the United States and Israel stood so starkly in confrontation with the majority of the of the United Nations General Assembly as it did on Thursday, as the U.S. openly threatened financial retribution for the anti-American move, and the Palestinians and their supporters expressing indignation over the blunt talk.

The voting took place only after 34 countries lined up to have their say at the podium.

Yemen’s ambassador to the U.N. Feridun Sinirliolu introduced the resolution, saying:

“We express our regret that the U.S. president used his veto at the Security Council to reject the motion,” and warned that Washington’s policy “will fan the fires of extremism.”

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley warned from the podium that how nations vote will have consequences. “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very right of exercising our right as a sovereign nation.

“We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations,” she said. “And we will remember when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

The vote, she added, “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.”

The following text was the subject of the vote:

The General Assembly,

Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolution A/RES/72/15 of 30 November 2017 on Jerusalem,

Reaffirming the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 (1967), 252 (1968), 267 (1969), 298 (1971), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), and 2334 (2016),

Guided by the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Bearing in mind the specific status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and, in particular, the need for the protection and preservation of the unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions of the City, as foreseen in the relevant United Nations resolutions,

Stressing that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant United Nations resolutions,

Expressing in this regard its deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,

1. 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, and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to resolution 478 (1980) of the Security Council;

2. Demands that all States comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions;

3. Reiterates its call for the reversal of the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution and for the intensification and acceleration of international and regional efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967;

4. Decides to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.


Updated Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 2:53 pm .