UN General Assembly adopts resolution on status of Jerusalem

UNITED NATIONS – The General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution on the status of Jerusalem that will make US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital have no legal effect.

In a rare emergency special session, the draft resolution tabled by Turkey and Yemen was adopted 128-9 with 35 abstentions.

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.

The resolution “affirms that 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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and in this regard calls upon all states to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

It further demands that all UN member states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding Jerusalem, and not recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.

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, US 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 as well as US contributions to the United Nations.

She said her country will move its Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that.”

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu showed defiance to US pressure.

“We will not be intimidated. You can be strong, but that does’t make you right!” Cavusoglu told the emergency special session in clear reference to US threats.

“Before this meeting, a UN member state threatened all the other members. We were all asked to vote ‘no’ or face consequences. Some were even threatened with development aid cut,” said Cavusoglu.

“Such an attitude is unacceptable. This is bullying and this chamber will not bow to that. It is unethical to think that the worth and dignity of member states are for sale,” said the foreign minister.

Thursday’s General Assembly emergency session was called after the United States vetoed a draft resolution on the status of Jerusalem at the Security Council on Monday. All other 14 members of the council voted in favor.

The Security Council vote was prompted by Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Under a 1950 resolution, a General Assembly emergency special session can be called for all UN member states to consider a matter “with a view to making appropriate recommendations” for collective measures in case the Security Council fails to act.

Thursday’s emergency special session was only the 10th of its kind in UN history. The last such meeting was held in 2009.