The US was left alone waving its veto in the face of the 14 members of the Security Council who voted in favor of a resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The resolution, calling for the withdrawal of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, gathered the unanimity of support of the security council to the exception of the US.
In a stark rebuke to Trump’s unilateralism, a spokesman for the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, responded to the veto by saying it was “unacceptable and threatens the stability of the international community because it disrespects it”.
The US permanent representative, Nikki Haley, described the motion as an “insult” and warned that “it would not be forgotten”.
“It’s one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” she added.
“Today, for the simple act of deciding where to put our embassy, the United States was forced to defend its sovereignty. The record will reflect that we did so proudly.”
In parallel, US Vice-President Mike Pence postponed a controversial scheduled visit to the Middle East, due to begin on Tuesday, until mid-January.
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Ms Haley on Twitter for using the veto.
Jerusalem was envisaged in the 1947 UN partition plan as an “international city”. After the end of the 1949 war, Israel took the western part and Jordan the eastern part of the city. During the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel occupied East Jerusalem. Since then, the entire city has been under Israel’s authority.
In July 1980, Israel passed a law that declared Jerusalem the united capital of Israel. The United Nations Security Council responded with a resolution condemning Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and declared it a violation of international law.
In 1995, the US Congress passed a law requiring America to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Proponents said the US should respect Israel’s choice of Jerusalem as its capital, and recognize it as such.
Every president since 1995 — Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama — has declined to move the embassy, citing national security interests. Every six months, the previous Presidents have used the presidential waiver to circumvent the embassy move.