UNITED NATIONS – Brushing aside threats from US President Donald Trump, a majority of UN member-states voted on Thursday to condemn Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The non-binding resolution passed the General Assembly by a vote of 128-9 with 35 abstentions, while a score of countries skipped the session.
Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo joined Israel and the US in opposing the text.
The number of abstainers, which was higher than usual on a Palestine-related issue, included Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Poland.
US diplomats sought to depict the comparatively level of abstention as a victory for Washington.
Trump said ahead of the vote that he was taking the issue personally.
“All of these nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council or they vote against us, potentially, at the Assembly, they take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us,” the president said on Wednesday.
A similar resolution before the Security Council received the votes of 14 of the 15 members, but was vetoed by the US.
Some of Washington’s closest allies, such as Britain, France and Japan, opposed the US on the Jerusalem question in both the Security Council and the General Assembly.
In her comments during Thursday’s session, the US ambassador to the United Nations reiterated Trump’s threats.
“The United States will remember this day, in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very right of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Nikki Haley said.
“We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” the US ambassador said.
The No. 1 recipient of US foreign assistance is Israel, which gets roughly $3.1 billion a year. Afghanistan – where Washington has been at war for more than 16 years – is next on the list, with about $1.5 billion, followed by Egypt at $1.4 billion.
“History records names, it remembers names – the names of those who stand by what is right and the names of those who speak falsehood,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said in response to Haley.
Palestinians “will not be threatened,” he said.
The resolution condemning Trump’s Jerusalem policy – which does mention the US by name – was presented to the General Assembly by Turkey and Yemen.
For decades, the global consensus has seen East Jerusalem, which was seized by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War, as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Under the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians, the city’s final status is to be settled by negotiations.
The General Assembly resolution urges a “reversal of the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-state solution” and called on UN member-states abide by Security Council resolutions pertaining to Jerusalem.