Middle East

Donald Trump threatens to cut aid for Jerusalem opponents in UN vote

The UN General Assembly will vote on a measure that would require the US to rescind its decision regarding Jerusalem. US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries that support the resolution.

US President Donald Trump increased the pressure on members of the United Nations (UN) by threatening to eliminate US funding to any member that voted against his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“All these nations that take our money and then vote against us at the Security Council and they vote against us potentially at the Assembly,” Trump said at the White House. “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,” he concluded.

The remarks follow a stern warning delivered by US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday, who threatened to “take the names” of countries that vote in favor of the draft resolution rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The vote will take place in the General Assembly on Thursday in an emergency session scheduled after the United States vetoed the same measure in the Security Council on Monday.

The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, including key US allies such as Italy, Japan, Britain, France and Ukraine.

While the five permanent members of the Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – had veto power in the first vote, there are no vetoes at the General Assembly.

Measure expresses “deep regret” over Jerusalem decisions

Turkey and Yemen requested the emergency session on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation.

The two countries’ draft measure echoes the measure that was vetoed on Monday, and reiterates that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

Similarly to the Egyptian-drafted measure, it does not directly reference Trump or the US, but it does express “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki had said the Palestinian Authority would seek support for the measure at the General Assembly if Haley exercised Washington’s veto.

Malki said in a statement that while Haley considered “the veto a source of pride and strength, we will show her their position is isolated and rejected internationally.”

Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as move the US Embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, sparked widespread anger and protests among Palestinians and Muslim communities worldwide.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its indivisible capital, while the Palestinians view the east as the capital of a future state.

Under a 1950 resolution, an emergency special session can be called for the General Assembly to consider a matter “with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures” if the Security Council fails to act.

Only 10 emergency sessions have been convened. The last such session the General Assembly held was in 2009 on occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian territories. Thursday’s meeting will be a resumption of that session.

US Vice President Mike Pence was expected to visit Jerusalem on Wednesday, but delayed his Middle East trip following the US veto, the White House announced.

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