The United States on Monday vetoed a draft UN resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, after all 14 other Security Council members backed the measure.
The veto cast by US Ambassador Nikki Haley highlighted Washington’s isolation over Trump’s announcement that the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively ignoring Palestinian claims on the city.
Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that backed the measure asserting that any decisions on the status of Jerusalem “have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded.”
“The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy,” Haley told the council after the veto.
Egypt put forward the draft resolution which insists that Jerusalem is an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians and expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem”, without specifically mentioning Trump’s move.
The United States along with Britain, China, France and Russia can veto any resolution presented to the council, which requires nine votes for adoption.
Breaking with international consensus, Trump announced on December 6 that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, triggering protests and strong condemnation.
US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Jerusalem on Wednesday, wading into the crisis over one of the most controversial issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.
The draft resolution had included a call on all countries to refrain from opening embassies in Jerusalem, reflecting concerns that other governments could follow the US lead.
It demanded that all member-states not recognize any actions that are contrary to UN resolutions on the status of the city.