U.S. wields United Nations veto over status of Jerusalem

Posted December 19, 2017

The United States on Monday vetoed a resolution supported by the 14 other U.N. Security Council members that would have required President Donald Trump to rescind his declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a vote that showed the depth of global opposition to the US move.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called the outcome "an insult" and said "it won't be forgotten".

The US "recognition of the obvious" that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel was "too much for some", Haley said.

The draft resolution was backed on Monday by the 14 other Security Council members, including many USA allies, highlighting Washington's increasing isolation over an issue that has triggered mass rallies in support of the Palestinians in major global cities. The proposed resolution stated, "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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council".

"The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy", she said after the veto.

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Speaking after the vote, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, said: "It is paradoxical that while we were waiting for a peace plan from the U.S., the administration instead chose to further obstruct peace and delay its realisation".

Ahead of the vote, Haley said the Security Council was putting peace out of reach by "injecting itself" into the conflict and passing judgement on issues that should be decided by direct negotiation between the parties.

"All countries except for the Trump administration acted in unison in this vote".

Along with the UK, France, Russia, and China, the United States is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, with the power to block any resolution from passing with the use of a veto.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video on his Twitter account in which he thanked Haley for the United States veto.

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This was the first time the United States exercised its veto since Trump became President. "Thank you, Nikki Haley".

It said the USA decision to veto the resolution showed once again that Washington had "lost objectivity" and that it was unacceptable for the Security Council to be left "ineffective" with such a move. No country has veto powers in the 193-nation assembly. This has infuriated the Palestinians and other Muslims across the world. The settlements are in contravention of the worldwide laws, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which prohibits countries from moving population into territories occupied in a war. USA policy had held that the status of Jerusalem is an issue to be decided in peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had said he would not meet with Pence following Trump's decision. But the Palestinians insist that East Jerusalem should be the capital of their future independent state. Even the US' closest geopolitical allies - Japan, Britain, and France - voted in support of the draft.

Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized during the 1967 war.

The Palestinians condemned the U.S. veto as "unacceptable" and vowed to turn to the UN General Assembly to push for a resolution condemning the decision.

Last time the USA used veto in February 2011 when the UNSC considered a draft resolution concerning Israel's settlement activity on the occupied Palestinian territories.

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