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Jerusalem: US veto to a conviction by 14 countries at the UN

Ⓒ AFP – KENA BETANCUR – | UN Security Council members vote for a resolution condemning US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, New York, December 18, 2017

The United States on Monday vetoed a UN resolution condemning their unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a text approved by their fourteen Security Council partners.

This vote in favor of fourteen of the fifteen members of the Security Council, including the closest European allies in Washington, London and Paris, represents a snub to US diplomacy.

Presented by Egypt, which denounced the “serious repercussions” of the US decision, the text demanded that the decision announced ten days ago by the Republican President Donald Trump be revoked. The recognition sparked Palestinian anger, demonstrations in the Muslim world and almost universal disapproval of the international community.

The status of Jerusalem “must be resolved through negotiation,” the text said, citing “deep regret over recent decisions on Jerusalem,” without mentioning the United States.

He asserted that “any decision or action aimed at altering the character, status or demographic composition” of Jerusalem “has no legal force, is null and void and should be revoked”.

For a week, the drafting of the text led to intense negotiations – sometimes at receptions or even at the UN bar – between the Palestinian diplomatic mission, having observer status, and several delegations from Arab countries or Europeans.

The goal was “to have fourteen votes for” against the United States, diplomats told AFP.

For that, some ardours of the Palestinians to a first text stronger and dating from December 11, which quoted by name the United States, had to be restrained.

– ‘Rights’ –

With this process, even sanctioned in the end by a veto, it was also to put pressure on the American administration and its future discussions with the two parties so that the rights of the Palestinians are more taken into account, added diplomats.

Finally, it must be emphasized that with their recent decision, the United States was flouting a series of resolutions on the conflict in the Middle East.

The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? “We have every right to do that,” US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the United States on Monday that the United States is inescapable for a peace deal.

She accused the United Nations of having “obstructed” the search for a peace agreement. The UN “stood between the two sides” and “blamed the Israelis”. “Israel has been biased at the United Nations,” the diplomat insisted, insisting that Washington continue to seek “a durable peace agreement” in the Middle East.

After the vote, she said it represented an “insult and a snub that we will not forget”.

On December 8, two days after the US announcement on Jerusalem, the Security Council had already shown the isolation of the United States at a meeting convened urgently. All their partners had criticized American recognition with more or less vigor.

After the vote on Monday, the Palestinians announced their willingness to request another vote at the UN General Assembly (193 countries). Unlike the Security Council, there is no right of veto in this chamber and its texts are without binding value.

– ‘Key’ –

The text submitted on Monday began with a paragraph recalling ten UN resolutions adopted between 1967 and 2016 and asserting that the issue of Jerusalem should be part of a final peace agreement.

The one approved in 1980, aimed at the colonization of territories, declared that “all the legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which aim at modifying the character and the status of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal validity “.

The United States abstained, allowing adoption.

France and the United Kingdom recalled Monday that Jerusalem was “a key” to the two-state solution, Israeli and Palestinian, living peacefully side by side.

“Without agreement on Jerusalem, there will be no peace agreement,” said the French ambassador, François Delattre, recalling the “international consensus” on “a two-state solution.” “The United States will continue to play an extremely important role in the search for peace in the Middle East,” said his British counterpart, Matthew Rycroft.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has “strongly condemned” the text. The Jews are currently celebrating Hanukkah, which is about “the liberation of Jerusalem”.

“The members of the Council can vote and still vote – hundreds of times, it will not change the fact that Jerusalem is, has been, and will always be, the capital of Israel,” he said.

Israel annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem, which it took control during the 1967 war, and passed a law making the Holy City its “indivisible” capital. This annexation has never been recognized by the international community and the Palestinians regard East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

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