Abbas hails UN vote as ‘a victory for Palestine’

Hamas says passage of resolution against Jerusalem recognition is ‘a defeat for the stupidity of Trump’; Israeli Arab leader calls motion ‘a slap in the face’ to Netanyahu

File: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)
File: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Thursday a United Nations General Assembly resolution rejecting the US government’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying it was “a victory for Palestine.”

The General Assembly adopted the motion rejecting US President Donald Trump’s December 6 decision by 128 votes to nine, with 35 abstentions and 21 no-shows.

“This decision reaffirms once again that the just Palestinian cause enjoys the support of international law, and no decision by any party can change the reality,” Abbas’s statement said, stressing it showed “that Jerusalem is occupied territory under international law.

“We will continue our efforts in the United Nations and all international forums to end the occupation and create a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem,” the statement added.

Abbas thanked nations who voted in support of the motion “in spite of the pressures the faced.”

Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told AFP the vote was “a massive setback” for Washington.

“They made it about them,” Mansour said about the US threats.

“They did not make it about Jerusalem, so when you make it about them and to only be able to get nine votes to say ‘no’ to it, I think it was a complete failure for their campaign.”

Riyad H. Mansour (C), The Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, and his delegation members celebrate the results of the vote on Jerusalem at the General Assembly hall, on December 21, 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York. (AFP PHOTO / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ)

Trump had warned ahead of the vote in the 193-nation assembly that “we’re watching” and threatened reprisals against countries backing the measure, which reaffirms that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.

The measure was sent to the General Assembly, for a non-binding vote, after it was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on Monday, although all other 14 council members voted in favor.

The Hamas terror group called the vote “a victory for Jerusalem, and a defeat for the stupidity of Trump.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been spearheading Islamic efforts to oppose Trump’s declaration,  called on the US to take back the decision.

“We welcome with great pleasure the UN General Assembly’s overwhelming support for a historic resolution on Al-Quds Al-Sharif,” he tweeted. “We expect the Trump administration to rescind without further delay its unfortunate decision, whose illegality has been clearly established by UNGA.”

In the Israeli legislature MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint (Arab) List, said the resolution served as “a slap in the face to the policies of Donald Trump and (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Joint (Arab) List chairman Ayman Odeh addresses a question to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the assembly hall of the parliament, July 18, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Odeh said the vote was “a clear call by the international community for peace and for the rights of the Palestinian people to an independent state whose capital is East Jerusalem.”

On Monday, 14 out of 15 members of the UN Security Council voted in favor of the resolution, which failed to pass due to an American veto.

The text passed Thursday expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,” and 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, and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

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