- UN votes 128-9 calling for the US to reverse Trump’s Jerusalem decision
- Trump sparked fury by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6
- He has since threatened to cut funding to countries that back the motion
- Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told UN members not to be swayed by Trump’s remarks
The UN General Assembly has voted 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, to adopt a motion rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
That is despite the US President threatening to cut billions of dollars in aid to countries that dared to defy him.
Trump had said ahead of the vote that ‘we’re watching’ the outcome, while Nikki Haley, his representative, had warned that the US would be ‘taking names’.
The United Nations General Assembly has voted 128-9 to reject Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite threats from the President to withdraw aid.
Trump has said the US would be ‘watching’ which side votes were cast on, while Nikki Haley, his representative at the UN, said she would be ‘taking names’
The vote, while a victory for the Palestinians, was significantly lower than its supporters had hoped for, with many forecasting at least 150 ‘yes’ votes.
It is noteworthy that 21 countries were absent.
Erdogan called on members not to be swayed by Trump’s warning and said in a televised speech: ‘I am calling on the whole world: never sell your democratic will in return for petty dollars.’
The US decision on December 6 to recognise the city as Israel’s capital broke with international consensus and unleashed protests across the Muslim world, prompting a flurry of appeals to the United Nations.
At an emergency session, the UN General Assembly will decide on Thursday on a draft resolution reaffirming that Jerusalem is an issue that must be resolved through negotiations and that any decision on its status has no legal effect and must be rescinded.
The measure was sent to the General Assembly after it was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on Monday, although all other 14 council members voted in favour.
Trump warned that Washington would closely watch how nations voted, suggesting there could even be reprisals for countries that back the motion which was put forward by Yemen and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries.
‘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 US decision on December 6 to recognise the city 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 draft resolution mirrors the text that was vetoed on Monday, and although it does not mention Trump’s decision, it expresses ‘deep regret at recent decisions’ concerning the city’s status.
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.’
‘The attitude to Israel of many nations in the world, in all the continents, is changing outside of the UN walls, and will eventually filter into the UN as well – the house of lies,’ he said.
Diplomats expect strong support for the resolution, which is non-binding, despite the US pressure to either abstain, vote against it or simply not turn up for the vote.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley sent an email to fellow UN envoys to put them on notice that ‘the president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us.’
‘We will take note of each and every vote on this issue,’ she wrote in the message seen by AFP.
And on Twitter she said ‘the US will be taking names’ when ambassadors of the 193-nation assembly cast their votes.
Trump warned that Washington would closely watch how nations voted, suggesting there could even be reprisals for countries that back the motion which was put forward by Yemen and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries
‘Nikki, that was the right message,’ Trump said.
Erdogan accused Trump of making ‘threats’.
‘How do they call America? The cradle of democracy. The cradle of democracy is seeking to find will in the world that can be bought with dollars,’ he said.
‘Mr Trump you cannot buy with dollars Turkey’s democratic will. Our decision is clear,’ he said.
Erdogan said he believed that ‘the world will teach a very good lesson to America today (Thursday).’
A council diplomat said Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic might bow to US pressure, but the motion is all but certain to be approved.
No country has veto powers in the General Assembly, unlike in the 15-member Security Council where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution.
Among the 14 countries voting in favor on Monday were Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine who were expected to do the same at the assembly.
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki accused Washington of ‘threatening’ member-states, saying the UN session would show ‘how many countries will opt to vote with their conscience.’
While resolutions by the General Assembly are non-binding, a strong vote in support of the resolution would carry political weight.
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 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 draft resolution