Palestinian minister slams US ‘threats’ ahead of UN Jerusalem vote

Palestinian minister slams US ‘threats’ ahead of UN Jerusalem vote

Turkish sponsor expects ‘strong support’ for General Assembly resolution slamming Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Wednesday accused Washington of “threatening” member countries of the UN General Assembly ahead of a vote on rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Malki said American officials were “committing another mistake when they have distributed this famous letter trying to threaten countries, (and) threaten their sovereign decision to choose how to vote.”

He spoke at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul, shortly before both men left for New York.

On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, Washington’s UN envoy, warned countries that she would report back to US President Donald Trump with the names of those who supported a draft resolution rejecting the US recognition.

The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session on Thursday to vote on the proposed measure, after the US vetoed a similar resolution for the Security Council.

UN Security Council members raise their hands as they vote on a draft resolution that would reject US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on December 18, 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York. (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)

“This is really a new definition of world order in politics and it seems that the American administration… are putting their stamp on a new political reality that many countries will reject,” Malki said.

Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent meeting on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

Malki said the UN session would show “how many countries will opt to vote with their conscience.”

“They will vote for justice and they will vote in favor of that resolution that was presented by both Yemen and Turkey on behalf of the Arab group and OIC,” he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to lead Islamic condemnation of Trump’s Jerusalem plan, calling a summit of the leaders of Muslim nations last week in Istanbul, who urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

East Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the 1967 war and later annexed, in a move not recognized by most of the international community.

In a December 6 address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and 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.

The move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. 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.

Cavusoglu said his country expected “strong support” for the Palestinian Authority in the UN General Assembly. “Everyone with a conscience … is against this decision that usurped Palestine’s rights,” he said.

The foreign minister said any honorable country would not bow to US pressure, urging Washington to reverse its mistake.

“God willing, I believe we will obtain a good result tomorrow (Thursday)”, he added.

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