UN General Assembly’s resolution on Jerusalem mirrors Washington’s isolation

Photo taken on Dec. 21, 2017 shows the voting result of aUnited Nations General Assembly resolution on the status of Jerusalem during a rare emergency special session at the UN headquarters in New York. The General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution on the status of Jerusalem that will make U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as theIsraeli capital have no legal effect. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) — The UN General Assembly on Thursday voted 128-9 with 35 abstentions to adopt a resolution on the status of Jerusalem, which shows that few countries favor the U.S. decision to recognize the holy city as the Israeli capital and mirrors the isolation of the United States on the issue.

The resolution, tabled by Turkey and Yemen in a rare emergency special session at the UN, affirmed that the U.S. decision has “no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”

It also called upon all UN member states to “refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

The nine countries that voted against the text were Guatemala, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, as well as the United States and Israel.

Such a vote at the General Assembly is non-binding, but a resounding “yes” reflects the collective will of the international community and carries much political weight.

Before the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley repeated the threat to cut aid for the countries that would have voted in favor of the draft resolution as well as U.S. contributions to the United Nations.

On Dec. 6, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and instructed to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which had been strongly opposed or condemned by the international community.

The latest General Assembly resolution reaffirmed the international community’s voice against the U.S. move. It was also a response to the U.S. veto of a draft resolution on the status of Jerusalem tabled by Egypt at the Security Council on Monday.

Although vetoed and blocked by the United States, all the other 14 Security Council members voted to back the Egypt-proposed draft resolution.

The Arab League condemned on Tuesday the U.S. veto of the Security Council resolution rejecting Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying the veto will increase Washington’s isolation.

“By this move, the United States withdraws itself from the peace process and puts itself in an isolated position,” Abdel-Raouf al-Reedy, former Egyptian Ambassador to the United States and head of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, also said on Tuesday.

Countries around the world welcomed the resolution’s adoption and urged the United States to rescind its decision.

“We welcome with great pleasure the UN General Assembly’s overwhelming support for a historic resolution on Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem),” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on his official Twitter account.

“We expect the Trump administration to rescind without further delay its unfortunate decision, whose illegality has been clearly established by the UNGA,” he added.

Earlier Thursday at an awards ceremony in Ankara, Erdogan blasted the U.S. threat to cut aid to countries that vote against Washington at the UN General Assembly on Jerusalem.

“Mr. Trump, you cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with your dollars,” he said, calling on the world not to “sell your struggle for democracy for a few dollars.”

In a statement, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the UN resolution “created a new opportunity for peace efforts” in the region.

Palestinians on Thursday hailed the UN General Assembly resolution. Nabil Abu Rdineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement that the resolution expresses the international community’s support for Palestinian rights.

“The threats by Trump to UN members didn’t prevent them from voting in favor of the resolution,” said Abu Rdineh.

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