The US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution criticising President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy to the city that is also claimed by Palestinians.
With all the other 14 members of the Council, including its allies Britain and France, lining up against the US, Permanent Representative Nikki Haley cast the veto-powered negative vote killing the resolution on Monday.
This was the first time the US exercised its veto since Trump became President. The last time the US had vetoed a resolution was in 2011 when it voted against a motion condemning the building of Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the occupied territories.
The Egyptian-sponsored resolution, which avoided naming the US or Trump directly, sought to express “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem” and asked other countries to not follow suit and move their embassies to city considered holy by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The resolution also called for reversing the “negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-State solution” for Arab-Israeli dispute.
Introducing the resolution, Egypt’s Permanent Representative Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta said that the US decision violated Council resolutions on the status of territories occupied by Israel and also the UN Charter which prohibits annexation of territories.
Haley called the resolution and the votes for it “an insult”.
“This veto is being done in defence of American sovereignty and in defence of America’s role in the Middle East peace process.
“The President took great care not to prejudge final status negotiations in any way, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem… That remains a subject to be negotiated only by the parties,” Haley added.
Trump has tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner with mediating peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Britain’s Permanent Representative Matthew Ryrcroft reflected the views of the other members when he said the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital decision had no legal affect and his country disagreed with it.
Palestine’s Permanent Observer Riyad Mansour called the US decision reprehensible and said that Washington had undermined any role it could have in the Middle East peace process.
The Palestinian people’s heritage was intimately interwoven with that of the city and East Jerusalem was the capital of Palestine.
Israel’s Permanent Representative Danny Danon said that Trump had only recognised the fact that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, which it had been for 3,000 years since its establishment by King David.