World reacts with anger as US vetoes Jerusalem resolution

World reacts with anger as US vetoes Jerusalem resolution
The US finds itself isolated again after vetoing the draft UN resolution that rejected President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
4 min read
19 December, 2017
Nikki Haley praised Trump's decision as the "just and right thing to do" [Getty]
The US on Monday vetoed a draft UN resolution that would have rejected President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, further isolating itself from the international community.

All 14 other Security Council members backed the measure including US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine.

While making no specific mention of the US or Trump, the draft UN resolution affirmed "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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council".

The draft also called upon all countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian reaction

The US veto has caused strong reactions among the Arab and Muslim world.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the veto saying it was "unacceptable and threatens the stability of the international community because it disrespects it."

Nabil Abu Rudeina called the veto a mockery of the international community and a concession to Israeli occupation and aggression.

Palestinian group Hamas issued a statement declaring Jerusalem Palestine's eternal capital, and called upon the international community to act for the protection of Jerusalem.

Arab countries 'regret' US decision

Egypt's foreign ministry spokesperson expressed regret in a written statement.

"Egypt is saddened by the veto of this important decision which heeds the conscience of the international community and openly rejects US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

He added that the Arab countries will gather to assess the steps that need to be taken to ensure Jerusalem's status is protected.

Merzuk Ali El Ghanim, Kuwait's parliament speaker, thanked Egypt for submitting the resolution, and said in a written statement, "This counter-stance against unilateral steps on Jerusalem's recognition as the capital of Israel shows that we are not alone, and our actual concern should be the free world."

In Qatar, the secretary general of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Ali Kardaghi tweeted that the decision was a 'terror and challenge for all countries'.

Turkey's deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdağ also criticised the US veto, describing it as "historically meaningful" that the US was left alone and facing 14 members.

The US has remained alone - 14 votes against the US

"The US should not insist on this position contrary to international law. The US should step back from the wrong decision as soon as possible," Bozdağ wrote on his official Twitter account.

Turkey will continue to follow developments on the issue to ensure the recognition and preservation of Jerusalem's status as Palestine's capital, Bozdağ added.

Lebanon's foreign ministry said on Monday they hope "for the emergence of new and effective mediators who can lead a just and comprehensive peace, so as not to fall into war" following the US veto.

The Foreign Ministry added it welcomes the 14 votes in favour, saying they reflected Lebanon's stance on the issue and would "encourage [Lebanon] to work at the international level to rally support for Lebanese proposals."

The status of Jerusalem - a city holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims - is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel sees the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector - which Israel seized in the 1967 war and later illegally annexed - as the capital of their future state.

"No vote or debate will change the clear reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement on Saturday.

Palestinian diplomats had suggested earlier their desire for "actively wanting a US veto and... the other 14 to stay together".

"This is not about pushing the US out of the picture. This is about them trying to shape the eventual content of a US-led proposal to be more in line" with the Palestinian stance, said a council diplomat.