Prior to a scheduled vote Thursday by the U.N. on a resolution demanding the U.S. reverse its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley issued a sharp and defiant rebuke of member states opposing the momentous foreign policy change.
The U.N. is currently in an emergency session after the U.S. earlier this week vetoed a similar measure in the Security Council. The U.S. as well as Russia, China, Britain, and France are unable to veto motions brought forth in the General Assembly.“The United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations … We’ll be honest with you: when we make generous contributions to the U.N., we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognized and respected,” Haley said prior to the vote.
“When a nation is singled out and attacked in this organization, that nation is disrespected,” she continued. “We will remember 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.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that billions of dollars in foreign aid could depend on how countries vote on the U.N. resolution. In a Cabinet meeting, the president said he would be “watching those votes.”
Haley made sure she made her feelings known publicly as well:
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us,” he said. “Well, we’ll be watching those votes. Let them vote against us; we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”The president declared that the U.S. is “not going to be taken advantage of any longer,” a sentiment Haley has expressed on the world stage.
The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure Egypt had put forward at the security council meeting, which was backed by all members apart from the US.
The Palestinian ambassador, Riyad Mansour, said he expected “overwhelming support” for the measure stating that Jerusalem was an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The general assembly will say, without the fear of the veto, that the international community is refusing to accept the unilateral position of the United States,” Mansour told reporters.
Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital broke with international consensus, triggering protests across the Muslim world and drawing strong condemnation. Key US allies including Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that voted in favour of rejecting the move.
After that vote, Haley described the 14-1 vote as “an insult” and warned: “It won’t be forgotten.”
After the clash at the top UN body, the White House announced that the US vice-president, Mike Pence, was delaying a trip to the Middle East planned for this week.Israel seized control of the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and regards all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.
Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized during the 1967 war.
The vote in the emergency session of the general assembly follows an annual vote on Tuesday where members voted 176-7 to affirm the Palestinian right to self-determination, suggesting the level of support the draft resolution could potentially command on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman pledged the kingdom’s support for east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state during talks with Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, on Wednesday.
Abbas has sent delegations to China and Russia to ask them to take a greater role in the peace process with Israel.