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Aftermath: UN Reacts to Trump Recognition of Jerusalem

by George Baumgarten, United Nations Correspondent, Jan 1, 2018

       The recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Jerusalem was conceived in anger, and will be largely ineffective. But it was not unexpected. Planned by the Palestinians and introduced by Turkey and Yemen, it was supported by many European countries, including American allies. But the breakdown of its Roll Call still had some surprises.

 

     The vote had 128 countries in favor, only nine against (Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo and the U.S.), with some 35 abstentions, which left 21 countries not voting.

 

     Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon addressed the Assembly, holding a replica coin from around 67 C.E., proving the Jewish connection to Second Temple Jerusalem. “No UN vote”, he said, “will ever drive us from Jerusalem”.

                                                     

      As Chair of the Arab Group and co-sponsor of the resolution, Yemen’s representative described the U.S. action as a “blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, as well as those of all Christians and Muslims”. He called it a threat to world peace and the two-state solution.

 

     Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that “This vote is important to show that the Palestinian cause is still our cause! Therefore, today, we will speak up for justice and peace. Today, we will speak up for Al-Quds – Jerusalem, the city of three divine faiths”.

                                              

      Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki portrayed Israel as a cruel aggressor, accusing her of “…attempts to erase the Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and Christian identity of Jerusalem…”. Speaking to the press corps after the vote, Malki said that they had undertaken this fight. And, punctuating his words with his fist, he said “we won!”.

 

     Israel, by contrast, made no such comments. Its attitude could best be described as “determined, if not defiant”. 

 

     After President Trump’s recognition, the Czech Republic announced that it, too, would recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And as this is written, Guatemala has announced that it is moving its embassy back to Jerusalem. In the early 1960’s, this author remembers seeing several embassies—principally Lain American—in the capital. All were later persuaded to move to Tel Aviv.

 

     The Palestinians have “won” this round, with this resolution of no effect. What have they really won…for their own people?

 

                                     _____________________

 

 
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