The U.S. vetoed Monday a United Nations Security Council resolution calling on President Donald Trump to “withdraw” his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Casting the lone opposition vote against 14 votes in favor, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley called the resolution “an insult” that won’t be forgotten. She has repeatedly criticized the U.N. for anti-Israel bias and for holding what she calls “Israel-bashing sessions” in the guise of legitimate diplomatic business.
Haley’s rejection was the only one needed to defeat the symbolic measure. To pass, a resolution must have the support of nine members and no vetoes by the U.S., France, Britain, Russia or China.
The security council vote on Monday comes on the heels of a similar declaration by the 57-member Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that denounced Trump’s decision and called for international recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. OIC and Western leaders knew Haley was certain to veto the security council resolution, but pushed for a vote anyway in order to further isolate the U.S. on the issue.
Through it did not mention the U.S. or Trump by name, the Egypt-authored resolution expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” The draft also affirmed that any decisions and actions that “purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem” are “null and void.”
Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital early this month and initiated plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city. Though the move broke with longstanding U.S. policy, it did make good on one of Trump’s campaign promises, an assurance also made by every U.S. president going back to former President Bill Clinton.
Israel has always claimed Jerusalem as its undivided capital, and the city has been the seat of Israeli government since the Jewish state was founded in 1948. However, Palestinians and other Arabs consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1967, to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally, and under U.N. resolutions, the disputed city’s final borders are to be determined through a negotiated peace settlement
The administration’s decision on Jerusalem has not changed the U.S. position on brokering peace talks, Haley said, before Monday’s vote.
“The United States has an undiminished commitment to helping bring about final status negotiations that will lead to lasting peace. Our hand remains extended to both parties,” she said, according to Reuters.
In the meantime, the Trump administration continues to publicly support Israel in the face of diplomatic criticism in the U.N. During a meeting ahead of the security council vote Monday, Haley said the Trump administration would have vetoed a Dec. 2016 resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.
The Obama administration abstained from voting on that resolution, which passed 14-0, despite pressure from Israel and then-President-elect Trump.
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