Deputy minister urges Israel to ‘sever Jerusalem’s ties with the UN’
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Deputy minister urges Israel to ‘sever Jerusalem’s ties with the UN’

Government House, the UN’s headquarters in the capital, should become ‘a new US embassy,’ says Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the US

Kulanu MK Michael Oren, June 20, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Kulanu MK Michael Oren, June 20, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israel’s Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren called on Thursday for Israel to “sever Jerusalem’s ties with the UN” and evict the United Nations from its Jerusalem headquarters, as the General Assembly voted 128-9 in favor of a resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“As the UN denies Israel’s bonds with Jerusalem, Israel must sever Jerusalem’s ties with the UN,” said Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the US.”

“We must evict the UN from the scenic Governor’s House [in southern Jerusalem], where its bloated staff does nothing, and give this historic site to a school, a hospital or, best yet, a new US embassy,” Oren, of the Kulanu party, said of the organization’s headquarters in Jerusalem, usually known as Government House.

UN’s Government House HQ, Jerusalem (Danielmartineckhart / UNTSO / Wikipedia)

UN member states voted 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, on a motion rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite threats by US President Donald Trump to cut funding to countries that backed the measure.

The vote took place at an emergency session of the UN General Assembly, with the resolution affirming that Jerusalem is an issue that must be resolved through negotiations and that any decision on its status has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

The measure was sent to the General Assembly after it was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on Monday; all 14 other council members voted in favor.

The status of the city, holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, is one of the most thorny issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the December 6 speech, Trump insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.

Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites. The move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum.

* This article was updated, and its headline changed, after Oren clarified his position to The Times of Israel. While he tweeted that “Israel must sever Jerusalem’s ties with the UN,” he did not mean, as originally reported, that Israel should withdraw from the UN, but rather that Israel should evict the UN from its Jerusalem headquarters.

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