|Pres. Donald J. Trump|
decisively backed a resolution effectively calling on the US to withdraw
its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The text says that any decisions regarding the status of the city are “null and void” and must be cancelled.
The non-binding resolution was approved by 128 states, with 35 abstaining and nine others voting against.
It came after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut financial aid to those who backed the resolution.
Before the vote, the Palestinian foreign minister urged member states to reject “blackmail and intimidation”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meanwhile said it would reject the
anticipated result “outright” and dismissed the UN as a “house of lies”.
What is so contentious about Jerusalem’s status?
The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
Israel occupied the east of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.
The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future
state and its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages
of peace talks.
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been
recognised internationally, and all countries currently maintain their
embassies in Tel Aviv. However, President Trump has told the US state
department to start work on moving the US embassy.
What does the UN resolution say?
193-member UN General Assembly held a rare emergency special session at
the request of Arab and Muslim states, who condemned Mr Trump’s
decision to reverse decades of US policy earlier this month.
Palestinians called for the meeting after the US vetoed a Security
Council resolution that was similar to the text approved on Thursday.
The text put forward by Turkey and Yemen does not mention the US, but
expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of
It also says “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be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security
How has the US reacted?
a speech before the vote, US permanent representative Nikki Haley
stressed that the US decision did not prejudge any final status issues,
and did not preclude a two-state solution if the parties agreed to that.
“The United States will remember this day, on which it was singled
out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising
our right as a sovereign nation,” she said.
“America will put our
embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do.
And it is the right thing to do. No vote in the Untied Nations will make
any difference on that.”
On Wednesday, Mr Trump warned he might cut financial aid to states who voted in favour of the resolution.
take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and
then they vote against us,” he said. “Well, we’re watching those votes,”
he added. “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
What do Israel and the Palestinians say?
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said the General Assembly had undergone “an unprecedented test” before the vote.
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,” he said.
Mr Maliki asserted that the
US declaration “serves the Israel government in implementing its
colonial plans, it serves the powers of extremism and terrorism in the
region and the world”.
Israeli permanent representative Danny
Danon said it was “shameful that this meeting is even taking place”,
adding that Jerusalem “is the capital of the State of Israel, period. It
is a fact that simply cannot be disputed.”
Mr Danon predicted the resolution would “end up in the trash-bin of history”.
have no doubt that the day will come when the entire international
community will finally come to recognise Jerusalem as the eternal
capital of the state of Israel.”