UNGA rejects US decision on Jerusalem, defying Trump threat
EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (AFP)
The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted by a decisive vote of 128 to nine, with 35 abstentions, a motion rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The Palestinian president welcomed the resolution criticizing US President Donald Trump's controversial Jerusalem declaration, and the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour called the vote a 'massive setback' for the US.
"This decision reaffirms once again that the just Palestinian cause enjoys the support of international law, and no decision by any party can change the reality," a statement from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's spokesman said.
"They made it about them," Mansour said referring to the US threats, adding, "to only be able to get nine votes to say 'no' to it, I think it was a complete failure for their campaign."
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for his 'unambiguous position' on Jerusalem and thanked the countries that voted 'with the truth'.
President Donald Trump had warned ahead of the vote in the 193-nation assembly that "we're watching" and threatened reprisals against countries backing the measure, which reaffirms that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.
Seven countries -- Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands -- joined Israel and the United States in opposing the measure.
The resolution was sent to the General Assembly after it was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on Monday, although all the other 14 council members voted in favor.
Prior to the vote, Israel's envoy to the United Nations vowed Thursday that his country would never be "driven" from Jerusalem as UN member states prepared to vote on rejecting Washington's recognition of the Holy City as its capital.
"No General Assembly resolution will ever drive us from Jerusalem," Ambassador Danny Danon said prior of the vote.
Among the 35 countries that abstained were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Romania and Rwanda.
Ukraine, which supported the draft resolution at the Security Council, was among 21 countries that did not turn up for the vote.
"The United States will remember this day," US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the assembly.
"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," Haley told the UN General Assembly.
She added that "America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that."
Once again Haley alluded to American monetary contributions to the UN, saying, "When we make generous contributions to the UN we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognized and respected."
While resolutions by the General Assembly are non-binding, a strong vote in support carries political weight.
"They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us," Trump said at the White House.
"Well, we're watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care."
The draft resolution reaffirms that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations, and that any decision reached outside of that framework has no legal effect and must be rescinded.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki, addressing the assembly as the session got underway, appealed for support and referenced America's warning that it was "taking names" among countries that oppose it at the UN.
"This organization is now undergoing an unprecedented test," al-Malki said.
"History records names, it remembers names -- the names of those who stand by what is right and the names of those who speak falsehood. Today we are seekers of rights and peace."
Trump's decision on December 6 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital broke with international consensus and unleashed protests across the Muslim world, prompting a flurry of appeals to the United Nations.
The status of the Holy City is one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with both sides claiming it as their capital.
Israel seized the largely-Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claiming both sides of the city as its "eternal and undivided capital."
But the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state and fiercely oppose any Israeli attempt to extend sovereignty there.
Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized in 1967 and the resolution contains the same language as past motions adopted by the assembly.
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but like all ungc votes it is meaningless and changes nothing. who cares. hope Trump carries out his threats
The UNGA, a pack of spineless, toothless hypocrites, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic States. Singly or together, to use a boxing metaphor, they wouldn't last two rounds with the Israelis.
I think at this time Israel should announce a HUGE number of new homes to be built for Jewish families in East Jerusalem. End the sale of all home in east Jerusalem to the pali filth. Drive the scum out of Israel.
For MBS, Abu Dis will do or the Pal will end-up with NOTHING. Not even a ministate.
By the will of Allah.