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Eight Countries Stand with U.S. as UN Condemns Recognition of Jerusalem

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley listens as the resolution condemning Washington's recognition of Jerusalem is introduced before a vote by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 21, 2017. (Albin Lohr-Jones/Sipa via AP Images)

The United Nations General Assembly today voted to condemn the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and demand that all member nations comply with UN Security Council resolutions on the status of the city.

The emergency special session vote was scheduled after the U.S. used its veto power to block a similar resolution at the Security Council on Monday. There is no veto power in the General Assembly.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned that America would be “taking names” of countries who voted against the United States. President Trump said Wednesday, “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

The final vote was 128 in favor of the resolution, nine against and 35 abstentions. The “no” votes came from the U.S., Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, Honduras, and Guatemala. Britain voted in favor of the resolution, while Canada and Mexico abstained.

Explaining the UK’s stance at the Security Council earlier this week, UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft said Washington’s move was “unhelpful to the prospects for peace in the region, an aim that all of us in this Council remain committed to — the British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.”

Unlike votes in the Security Council, General Assembly resolutions are non-binding. Today’s resolution calls on all states to “comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”

Haley said today at the General Assembly that she’s “often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body.”

“And then I remember that Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it’s important to stand up for yourself. Israel must stand up for its own survival as a nation, but it also stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about,” she said.

“When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognized and respected. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What’s more, that nation is asked to pay for the ‘privilege’ of being disrespected,” Haley added. “…We have an obligation to demand more for our investment. And if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways. Those are the thoughts that come to mind when we consider the resolution before us today.”

Haley reiterated Trump’s original statement that the recognition of Jerusalem was not a judgment on the final status of the city and “does nothing to harm peace efforts.”

“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” she said. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it 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.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel whether the UN recognizes it or not.”

“It took 70 years for the US to officially recognize it and it will take more years until the UN also recognizes it,” he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech today that Trump “cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with your dollars.”

“I hope and expect the United States won’t get the result it expects [at the United Nations] and the world will give a very good lesson to the United States,” Erdoğan added.