Representatives of 193 United Nations member states gathered at General Assembly emergency session Thursday to vote on a controversial proposed resolution targeting Israel and tacitly condemning American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
On December 6th, President Donald Trump announced that he was reversing decades of US policy vis-à-vis the Israeli capital, declaring that the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. The president also announced that had ordered the State Department to being work to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital.
The move, praised by the Israeli government and some US lawmakers, drew criticism from many European leaders and much of the Arab world.
Egypt’s UN delegation, which currently holds one of the ten temporary seats on the UN Security Council, submitted a proposal condemning the US recognition of Jerusalem, and declaring it null and void in international law.
On Monday, the US vetoed the resolution, which was backed by all 10 temporary Security Council members and the four other permanent member states – China, Russia, the UK, and France.
By Tuesday, it was reported that Arab states were planning a similar resolution in the General Assembly.
While Israeli officials estimated that the proposal may likely win a majority of the 193 member states in the General Assembly – where the US lacks a veto – resolutions passed there are non-binding.
During the special meeting, American Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the international body, calling it a “hostile place for the State of Israel”.
"To its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the State of Israel."
"It's a wrong that undermines the credibility of this institution, and that in turn is harmful for the entire world."
Haley asked rhetorically why Israel would chose to remain in the UN given that body’s clear antipathy towards the Jewish state, arguing that by standing up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity, Israel was better representing the UN’s own core values than the UN itself.
"I have often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body. 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."