The United Nations, UN, General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly adopted a motion rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by a decisive vote of 128 to nine, with 35 abstentions.
Ahead of the vote in the 193-nation assembly, President Donald Trump had warned that “we’re watching” and threatened reprisals against countries backing the measure, which reaffirms that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.
Seven countries — Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands — joined Israel and the United States in opposing the measure.
Among the 35 countries that abstained were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Romania and Rwanda.
Ukraine, which supported the draft resolution at the Security Council, was among 21 countries that did not turn up for the vote.
The measure was sent to the General Assembly after it was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on Monday, although all other 14 council members voted in favor.
“The United States will remember this day,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the assembly.
“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem,” Haley said, adding that “No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that.
“But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN.
“When we make generous contributions to the UN we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognized and respected,” she said.
Israel had seized the largely-Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claiming both sides of the city as its “eternal and undivided capital”. But the Palestinians want the eastern bank as the capital of their future state and fiercely oppose any attempt by the Israeli to extend sovereignty there.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reacted to the UN vote that rejected a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but expressed satisfaction at the number of countries that didn’t vote for the measure.
In a Hebrew-language statement issued on Thursday, he said, “We reject the decision of the UN but we are satisfied by the high number of countries that didn’t vote in favour of this decision,” the Israeli leader said in a Hebrew-language statement.
“Thank you to President Donald Trump for his clear position regarding Jerusalem and we say thank you to countries that voted together with Israel and together with the truth.”