Earlier this month, Donald Trump reversed decades of US policy by announcing the United States recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.
UNITED NATIONS: More than 100 countries including India defied US President Donald Trump on Thursday and voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted in favour. A total of 128 countries backed the resolution, nine voted against and 35 abstained.
Trump’s threat appeared to have some impact, with more countries abstaining and rejecting the resolution than usually associated with Palestinian-related resolutions.
Nevertheless, Washington found itself isolated on the world stage as many of its Western and Arab allies voted for the measure.
India did not speak on the floor of the Assembly in New York, but after Trump recognised the holy city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it had said that its Palestine position was independent and consistent.
In her intervention at the non-aligned movement’s ministerial meeting on Palestine on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said the path to Israel-Jerusalem peace clearly lay in an early negotiated solution between Israel and Palestine based on mutual recognition and security arrangements.
A total of 128 countries backed the resolution, nine voted against and 35 abstained. (File)
Ahead of the vote, the United States said it was “singled out for attack” at the United Nations over Jerusalem, which holds Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites.
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the 193-member General Assembly.
“We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” she said.
Earlier this month, Trump reversed decades of US policy by announcing the United States recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who were furious over Trump’s move. The international community does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the full city.
The vote was called at the request of Arab and Muslim countries. The United States, backing its ally Israel, vetoed the resolution on Monday in the 15-member UN Security Council.
The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favour of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which did not specifically mention the United States or Trump but which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told the United States it could not buy Turkey’s support in Thursday’s vote.
“Mr. Trump, you cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with your dollars,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
“I hope and expect the United States won’t get the result it expects from there (the United Nations) and the world will give a very good lesson to the United States,” Erdogan said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the United Nations as a “house of lies” ahead of the vote.
“The State of Israel totally rejects this vote, even before (the resolution’s) approval,” Netanyahu said in a speech in the port city of Ashdod.
© Thomson Reuters 2017