by Aysha Qamar
A majority of United Nations member states have declared President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void,” ignoring his threats to retaliate by cutting aid to countries voting against his recognition.
The non-binding resolution was approved at a UN General Assembly emergency meeting this week, with 128 votes in favor and nine against, while 35 countries abstained.
While major allies like Britain, France, Germany and Japan voted for the resolution, some allies, like Australia and Canada, abstained.
The new resolution raised questions about whether Trump would sustain his threat to withhold American aid from countries that voted against the United States. A threat was made that the United States would take note of all countries who voted for the resolution.
“All of these nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council or they vote against us, potentially, at the Assembly, they take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us,” Trump said the day before the vote.
“Well, we’re watching those votes,” he said. “Let them vote against us; we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
The vote was called a victory for Palestine, while many condemned the United States decision, they believed the UN vote shows respect for the rule of international law.
”This decision reaffirms once again that the just Palestinian cause enjoys the support of international community, and no decisions made by any side could change the reality, that Jerusalem is an occupied territory under international law,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement.
“It’s a day of shame to those who stood shoulder to shoulder with the occupation and settlements against international law,” he said.
“But we appreciate very much that the majority of the international community decided, in spite of the threats and intimidation of the US, to stand tall with wisdom, far-sightedness, international law and the rule of law – and not the rule of the jungle.”
While Palestine saw the vote as a victory, Israel denounced Thursday’s vote.
“It’s shameful that this meeting is even taking place,” Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon, told the General Assembly. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said in a Facebook post: “Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital. Always was, always will be.”
“We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations,” she said of the vote. “And we will remember when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”
Palestinian Foreign Minster Riad Malki said that Palestinians “will not be threatened” insisting that one should ignore the threats and repercussions Trump said the decision would have.
“History records names, it remembers names — the names of those who stand by what is right and the names of those who speak falsehood,” Malki said.
Aside from Israel, the only countries to side with the United States by voting no were Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau- majority of which are smaller countries dependent on American aid.
Egypt, Jordan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan are among major recipients of American aid that ignored Trump’s warning and voted for the resolution.