(JTA) — The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution rejecting any recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the wake of the pronouncement by President Donald Trump two weeks ago.
The vote at Thursday’s emergency session was 128 in favor and 9 against, with 35 abstentions. The United States had vetoed a similar resolution by the U.N. Security Council favored by the 14 other countries.
Yemen and Turkey drafted the General Assembly resolution, which 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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”
It also calls on the United States “to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”
The resolution also noted that “Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant United Nations resolutions.”
General Assembly resolutions are nonbinding, but are intended to carry moral weight as an expression of the international community.
The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, called the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “an aggression towards the Palestinian people” and added that it “affect(s) the status of the United States as a mediator of peace.”
“History records names, it remembers names, the names of those who stand by what is right and stand up to peace, and it remembers those who speak falsehoods,” Mansour said in a reference to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley saying earlier in the week that she would “take names” of the countries that vote for the resolution.
The Turkish ambassador to the U.N., Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, called Trump’s threat to withhold development money from countries that vote for the resolution “bullying.”
“We will not be intimidated. You can be strong but that does not make you right,” he said.
Haley said a vote for the resolution would show “disrespect” to the United States by other U.N. countries.
“When we make generous contributions to the U.N., we also have expectation that we will be respected. What’s more, we are being asked to pay for the dubious privileges of being disrespected,” Haley said.
“If our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our investment in other ways,” she added. “This vote will be remembered.”
Haley questioned why Israel remains in the United Nations.
“To its shame, the United Nations has been a place that is hostile to Israel,” she said. “Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it is important to stand up for yourself.”
Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, called the fact that the meeting was taking place “shameful.” He said the United States “simply stated a fact” when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Jerusalem is the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people. This is a fact that simply cannot be refuted,” he said. “King David declared Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish people 3,000 years ago.”
Danon produced a coin dating to 67 A.D. reading “Freedom of Zion” that he said provides clear evidence of the Second Temple and “proves the ancient connection of Jews to Jerusalem.”
“Those who support today’s resolution are like puppets. You are like puppets pulled by your Palestinian masters,” he said.
Prior to the meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Today is a very important day in Israel and very important outside of Israel. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, whether or not the U.N. recognizes it. It took 70 years until the United States officially recognized this. and it will take years for the United Nations to recognize that as well.”
“The attitude toward Israel from many countries on all continents is changing outside the U.N. and will eventually seep into the walls of the U.N. House — the House of Lies. The State of Israel rejects this vote out of hand even before it was accepted. Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build there, and embassies of countries, headed by the United States, will move to Jerusalem.”
Following the vote, Netanyahu posted a statement on social media decrying the resolution.
“Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is out capital. Always was. Always will be. But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number iof coutries refuse to participate in this ‘theater of the absurd.’
He thanked Trump and Haley for their “stalwart support” of Israel and “the truth.”
Posted by The Prime Minister of Israel on Thursday, December 21, 2017
Along with Israel and the Unites States, the countries that voted against the resolution are Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo.
Among those that voted in favor are the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Greece and Brazil. Australia, Canada, Poland and the Czech Republic were among the nations that abstained.