News compilation by New Cold War.org, Dec 23, 2017
From the media release by the United Nations, Dec 21, 2017:
By a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 9 against (Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, United States), with 35 abstentions, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution ‘Status of Jerusalem’, by which it declared “null and void” any actions intended to alter Jerusalem’s character, status or demographic composition. Calling on all States to refrain from establishing embassies in the Holy City, it also demanded that they comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions and work to reverse the “negative trends” imperilling a two‑State resolution of the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict…
The full text of UN General Assembly resolution A/ES-10/L.22is below. The recorded vote by country is below.
UN General Assembly votes to condemn U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital
UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on December 21 to denounce President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, largely ignoring Trump’s threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him.
The nonbinding resolution declaring U.S. action on Jerusalem “null and void” was approved 128-9 — a victory for the Palestinians but not as big as they predicted. Amid Washington’s threats, 35 of the 193 UN member nations abstained and 21 were absent.
The resolution reaffirmed what has been the United Nations’ stand on the divided holy city since 1967: that Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Trump administration made it clear the vote would have no effect on its plan to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said afterward that he completely rejects the “preposterous” resolution.
Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour called the vote a victory not only for the Palestinians but for the United Nations and international law, saying U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley “failed miserably” in persuading only seven countries aside from the U.S. and Israel to vote against the resolution. “And they used unprecedented tactics, unheard of in the diplomatic work at the UN, including blackmail and extortion,” he said.
The United States and Israel had waged an intensive lobbying campaign against the measure, with Haley sending letters to over 180 countries warning that Washington would be taking names of those who voted against the U.S. Trump went further, threatening a funding cutoff: “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
But in the end, major U.S. aid recipients including Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa supported the resolution. Egypt received roughly $1.4 billion in U.S. aid this year, and Jordan about $1.3 billion.
The nine countries voting “no” were the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands and Togo. Among the abstentions were Australia, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic and Mexico.
The absent countries included Kenya, which was the fifth-largest recipient of U.S. aid last year, Georgia and Ukraine, all of which have close U.S. ties.
After the vote, Haley tweeted a photo naming the 65 nations that voted no, abstained or were absent, and said: “We appreciate these countries for not falling to the irresponsible ways of the UN.” She later sent invitations to the 65 ambassadors inviting them to a reception on Jan. 3 to thank them for their friendship with the United States.
The U.S. is scheduled to dispense $25.8 billion in foreign aid for 2018. Whether Trump follows through with his threat against those who voted “yes” remains to be seen.
But within hours, the Trump administration appeared to be backing away from its funding threats. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said cuts to countries that opposed the U.S. are not a foregone conclusion. “The president’s foreign policy team has been empowered to explore various options going forward with other nations,” Nauert said. “However, no decisions have been made.”
During the debate, Arab, Islamic and non-aligned nations urged a “yes” vote on the resolution, which was sponsored by Yemen and Turkey.
Yemeni Ambassador Khaled Hussein Mohamed Alyemany warned that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem undermines any chance for peace in the Mideast and “serves to fan the fires of violence and extremism.” He called Trump’s action “a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations, and all Muslims and Christians of the world,” and “a dangerous violation and breach of international law.”
On Wednesday, Trump complained that Americans are tired of being taken advantage of by countries that take billions of dollars and then vote against the U.S. Haley echoed his words in her speech to the packed assembly chamber, threatening not only member states with funding cuts, but the United Nations itself.
Haley said the vote will make no difference in U.S. plans to move the American Embassy, but it “will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN, and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN” “And this vote will be remembered,” she warned.
Trump’s pressure tactics had raised the stakes at Thursday’s emergency meeting and triggered accusations from the Muslim world of U.S. bullying and blackmail. “It is unethical to think that the votes and dignity of member states are for sale,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. “We will not be intimidated. You can be strong but this does not make you right.”
The Palestinians and their supporters sought the General Assembly vote after the U.S. on Monday vetoed a resolution supported by the 14 other UN Security Council members that would have required Trump to rescind his declaration on Jerusalem.
The resolution adopted by the assembly has language similar to the defeated measure. It “affirms 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.”
U.S., Israel isolated as UN votes in defiance of Trump on Jerusalem
The overwhelming vote at the UN General Assembly meeting against the U.S. move on Jerusalem will not bring peace any closer, but it does restore a sense of integrity to the world body.
Unlike all previous Arab-Israeli confrontations at the United Nations, this one was not about Israel. The world was given clear instructions by the sole superpower to accept its dictates even if they flaunt the resolutions of the world body, or suffer direct financial consequences.
The world didn’t flinch or back down under the threats of the powerful United States, but called the American bluff.
The UN General Assembly was holding an emergency meeting according to the UN charter’s Uniting for Peace clause, which allows for an appeal to the General Assembly when a veto decision is cast. The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution, 128-9 with 35 abstentions, submitted jointly by Yemen and Turkey on behalf of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to declare the U.S. move “null and void.”
Speaking to the Saudi-based Arab News, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, called the vote impressive and stressed the resilience of the international community despite U.S. pressures. “This vote was not against Israel; it was a vote against the U.S. I am happy with the result despite all the pressure that was placed on UN member states not to support this resolution.”
In the days leading up to the vote, both President Donald Trump and his envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, threatened countries with financial punishment if they went against the United States.
Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University told Al-Monitor that the “latest display of childish pique when things do not go President Trump’s way provides an extraordinary spectacle.”
In an email exchange, Khalidi predicted even before the vote that countries that might have succumbed to the usual quiet American-Israeli pressure tactics may now be too embarrassed to do so. Khalidi, an Edward Said professor of Arab studies, said that the United States has employed arm twisting, threats and pressure myriad times during its reign as the world’s leading superpower. “Such tactics, for instance, were deployed in 1947, when the UN adopted UNGA Resolution 181 known as the Partition Plan.”
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said in a press statement after the vote that Trump should know that some things are not for sale or subject to blackmail. “Extortion is the most effective way for the U.S. to isolate itself even further and to weaken its influence and standing globally,” she warned. Ashrawi noted that despite U.S. efforts to safeguard Israel against its own violations and war crimes, the majority of members maintained their principled positions while a minimal few succumbed by abstaining or voting against the resolution.
“This further demonstrates the isolation of the U.S. in its blind support of Israeli lawlessness and impunity. It is therefore called on to rescind its irresponsible and dangerous decision and refrain from joining Israel in its criminal behavior,” Ashrawi concluded.
The results of the vote showed that Canada, which voted Dec. 19 against the Palestinian right of self-determination two days earlier, abstained from the vote on Jerusalem. Israeli writer Barak Ravid tweeted Dec. 21 about why Canada made a last-minute change. “Canada considered voting against the UNGA resolution on Trump’s Jerusalem announcement but changed vote to abstention after hearing Trump’s threats in order not to be perceived as U.S. puppet, Western diplomats tell me,” he tweeted an hour before the actual vote.
In its daily press review Dec. 22, the Palestine News Network observed that the Israeli media noted that the UN vote was “difficult for Israel and its legitimacy, a defeat to [Benjamin] Netanyahu and a cause for shame to U.S. President Donald Trump.”
Mahdi Abdul-Hadi, director of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, told Al-Monitor that despite the U.S. threats and blackmail, Palestinians are seeing a majority of countries rejecting the U.S. position. “Does this mean that the Trump administration will be ushering in a new chapter of international relations [to replace the one] that has been with us since the end of the second world war and the creation of the UN?”
While the majority of the discussion centered on the U.S. threats, the decision at the extraordinary General Assembly meeting was also seen as a vote of confidence in the UN and for the preservation of the world order.
Speaking on CNN after the vote, Palestinian envoy to the United States Hussam Zumlot argued that the UN decision was about the credibility of the international organization. “This wasn’t a win for Palestine, it was a vote internationalism, for multilateralism, for international legality, for international system. Otherwise we would be in the rule of the jungle. … Today was a clear day that the world has voted for its own resolutions.”
While the vote was overwhelming in support of the resolution vetoed in the Security Council on Dec. 18, the atmosphere that has ensued has isolated the United States and Israel. This isolation comes just as Trump and Netanyahu face their own internal legal problems and appear to be running away from them by creating international distractions.
The vote at the UN will not bring peace any closer, nor will it do much to change the situation on the ground, but it does restore a sense of integrity to the world body while shaming a superpower that threatens poor people around the world with financial punishment if they don’t toe their line on how to practice their sovereign rights as independent countries.
Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist, a media activist and a columnist for Palestine Pulse. He is a former Ferris Professor of journalism at Princeton University and is currently the director-general of Community Media Network, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing independent media in the Arab region. On Twitter: @daoudkuttab
More legal warfare: How critics of Israel are being subjected to aggressive lawsuits, by Bill Mullen, David Palumbo-Liu and Heike Schotten, Truthout.org, Dec 18, 2017 (The authors are members of the Organizing Collective of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.)
United Nations General Assembly, Resolution A/ES-10/L.22
Submitted December 19, 2017 Original: English
Tenth emergency special session, Agenda item 5, Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Turkey and Yemen: draft resolution ‘Status of Jerusalem’
The General Assembly:
Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolution 72/15 of 30 November 2017 on Jerusalem,
Reaffirming also the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980 and 2334 (2016) of 23 December 2016,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Bearing in mind the specific status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and, in particular, the need for the protection and preservation of the unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions of the city, as foreseen in relevant United Nations resolutions,
Stressing that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant United Nat ions resolutions,
Expressing, in this regard, its deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,
- Affirms 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, and in this regard calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to Security Council resolution 478 (1980);
- Demands that all States comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions; A/ES-10/L.22
- Reiterates its call for the reversal of the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution and for the intensification and acceleration of international and regional efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet road map, and an end to the Israel occupation that began in 1967;
- Decides to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.
Here is a country breakdown of the General Assembly vote (find the voting record also on Wikipedia)
Member states that voted in favour of the resolution:
A: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan
B: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi
C: Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, D: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica
E: Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia
F: Finland, France
G: Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana
I: Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy
J: Japan, Jordan
K: Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan
L: Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg
M: Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco,
N: Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway
P: Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Portugal
R: Republic of Korea (South Korea), Russia
S: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria
T: Tajikistan, Thailand, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey
U: United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan
V: Venezuela, Vietnam
Member states that voted against the resolution:
Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, United States
Member states that abstained:
A: Antigua-Barbuda, Argentina, Australia
B: Bahamas, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina
C: Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic
D: Dominican Republic
E: Equatorial Guinea
H: Haiti, Hungary
L: Latvia, Lesotho
M: Malawi, Mexico
P: Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland
R: Romania, Rwanda
S: Solomon Islands, South Sudan
T: Trinidad-Tobago, Tuvalu