U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Condemning Move on Jerusalem
Although the United States used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block the resolution, the council’s vote, 14 to 1, punctuated the American isolation over a central issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Ambassador Nikki R. Haley of the United States chastised her fellow council members after the midday vote, arguing that President Trump’s decision two weeks ago was a “U.S. recognition of the obvious.”
She indignantly charged that “buried in diplomatic jargon, some presume to tell America where to put its embassy.”
The one-page resolution, drafted by Egypt, reiterated the longstanding position of the Security Council, in several resolutions dating back 50 years, rejecting Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, the holy city revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims.
The draft resolution also reiterated the council’s view that no country should establish an embassy in Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem’s status is an issue to be resolved by Israel and the Palestinians, who want eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Jerusalem, the draft resolution states, “is a final-status issue to be resolved through negotiations.”
It demanded, without identifying the United States by name, that “all States comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”
The United States, one of the Security Council’s five permanent members, had been widely expected to use its veto power to defeat the resolution.
The four other permanent members and 10 nonpermanent members had signaled that they would all vote in favor, including France and Britain, America’s closest allies on the council.
“Israel is the key to peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” the French ambassador to the United Nations, François Delattre, told reporters as he entered the Security Council chambers, where the vote on the resolution was held. “This Egyptian draft only reaffirms clearly the basis of international consensus, international law.”
Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of Britain expressed a similar position. “Our view is that the issue of Jerusalem is a final status issue, that Jerusalem should be a shared capital for Israelis and for Palestinians, and the U.K. Embassy, for now, will remain in Tel Aviv,” he told reporters before the vote.
Israel seized eastern Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and has declared the entire city to be its capital.
Mr. Trump, keeping a campaign promise, announced two weeks ago that the United States considers Jerusalem the capital of Israel and that it would eventually relocate its embassy there from Tel Aviv.
The change outraged the Palestinians and was widely condemned in much of the world as a new impediment to resolving one of the most intractable conflicts in the Middle East.
The Security Council vote came just two days before Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to visit Jerusalem. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who had planned to meet Mr. Pence, canceled that meeting in protest of the American change of position on Jerusalem.