US vetoes UN resolution that would have required Trump to rescind Jerusalem recognition
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US vetoes UN resolution that would have required Trump to rescind Jerusalem recognition

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaking at a U.N. meeting in New York City, Sept. 4, 2017. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have required the Trump administration to backtrack on its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The other 14 member-states of the Security Council voted in favor of the one-page document submitted by Egypt, which insists that any decisions on the status of Jerusalem have no legal effect and must be rescinded.

The United States and the four other permanent members of the council — China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France — can veto a resolution.

Following the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel released a video in which he thanked Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for her words of support and the U.S. veto of the resolution.

“Thank you, Ambassador Haley. On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi,” he said. “You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump. Thank you, Nikki Haley.”

President Donald Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy this month when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and began the process of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The Palestinians and Arab and Muslim countries expressed outrage, and much of the world came out against the move. After the decision, Arab foreign ministers agreed to seek a Security Council resolution.

The text of the draft “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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void, and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” The resolution also called on U.N. member states to “refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to resolution 478 (1980) of the Security Council.”

Speaking to the Security Council prior to the vote, Haley said she would not discuss Trump’s call on the embassy, saying it’s a decision that a “sovereign nation” such as the United States has “every right to do.”

Haley instead brought up a U.N. resolution condemning settlement construction by Israel that the Obama administration allowed to pass last December by abstaining rather than exercising its veto.

“Given the chance to vote again on Resolution 2234, I can say with complete confidence that the United States would vote no; we would exercise our veto power,” Haley said. “For decades, Israel has withstood wave after wave of bias in the U.N. and its agencies. The United States has often stood beside Israel. We did not on Dec. 23, 2016. We will not make that mistake again.”

Also prior to the vote, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, told the Security Council that even the passage of such a resolution would not change the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

“Members of the council can vote again and again — for a hundred more times,” he said. “It won’t change the simple fact that Jerusalem is, has been and always will be the capital of Israel.”