General Assembly vote'We don't expect those we've helped to target us'

US says it’ll be ‘taking names’ of countries that oppose Jerusalem move at UN

Nikki Haley slams emergency meeting of 193-nation assembly ‘criticizing our choice,’ threatens repercussions for those ‘who vote against us’

US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT)
US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT)

United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the US will be “taking names” of countries that support a draft resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, set for a General Assembly vote Thursday.

Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent meeting of the 193-nation forum on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after the US vetoed the measure in the Security Council. The two countries circulated a draft resolution that mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

Egypt had put forward the draft, which was backed by all 14 other Security Council members in a vote on Monday. Like the Egyptian draft, the text before the assembly does not explicitly mention Trump’s decision but expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”

Haley reacted angrily to the move, tweeting, “On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”

In a letter sent to several UN ambassadors, Haley warned that she would report back to Trump on the countries that supported the draft resolution.

“The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us,” she wrote. “We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.”

In an address December 6 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. He also said the US embassy would move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but did not give a schedule for the relocation.

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.

Border Police officers take aim at Palestinian rioters during clashes near the West Bank Qalandiya checkpoint, on the outskirts of Ramallah, on December 15, 2017. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

The announcement was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. It was criticized by many countries, condemned by the Arab world, and infuriated Palestinians, who held violent demonstrations for several days in the West Bank and on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.

The Palestinian permanent observer in the UN, Riyad Mansour, said he expected “overwhelming support” in the General Assembly vote, stating that Jerusalem is an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The General Assembly will say, without the fear of the veto, that the international community is refusing to accept the unilateral position of the United States,” Mansour told reporters.

No country has veto power in the 193-nation assembly, contrary to the council, where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution.

Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that voted in favor of the measure.

Ambassador Haley described that 14-1 vote “an insult” and warned “it won’t be forgotten.”

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks during a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East on December 18, 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York. (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)

She went further on Monday, warning in her tweet: “At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us.”

In a memo to its missions around the world Tuesday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry advised diplomats to encourage their host countries to oppose the resolution at the General Assembly. In the case of countries that are planning to back the resolution, diplomats were urged to encourage their local counterparts to at least refrain from expressing public support for the proposal.

Israeli diplomats were told to emphasize that the resolution is one-sided and will harm prospects for peace by undermining Trump, and may also lead to further violence in the region.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

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