Following the U.S. veto of a draft Security Council resolution on December 18th seeking to censure and reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Palestinians and their enablers pushed for a similar resolution at a special emergency session of the UN General Assembly. The General Assembly passed the resolution on December 21st by a vote of 128-9, with 35 abstentions. It declared U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital “null and void” and urged nations to “refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions.” Major European allies, including Britain, France, and Germany, shamefully voted for the resolution. In doing so, they exposed their latent centuries-old anti-Semitism by singling out the Jewish state for special condemnation. Other allies, such as Canada and Australia, at least had the decency to abstain.
UN General Assembly resolutions purporting to buttress the Palestinians’ position are entirely non-binding, as are virtually all resolutions, actions or recommendations by the General Assembly on such matters as international security. They have no more legal impact than the vacuous speeches that have accompanied the passage of the resolutions. The latest resolution passed by the UN General Assembly forum, whose members include many free-riding authoritarian regimes, was a farcical attempt to isolate the most powerful democracy in the world, and the UN’s largest contributor by far, for exercising its national sovereign rights.
Moreover, with all the real global crises today, including in Syria, North Korea, Yemen and Myanmar, one would think such crises would deserve their own special emergency sessions of the General Assembly. Alas, that has not happened. Yet the Israel-bashers chose to call a special emergency session to indulge their hatred for the Jewish state and their fantasies that what they pass there will have any real impact on Israel or the Trump administration.
Ambassador Haley bluntly told the member states voting for the General Assembly resolution to butt out of America’s decisions as a sovereign nation. “Unlike in some UN member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people,” she said. Ambassador Haley added that “the President’s decision reflects the will of the American people and our right as a nation to choose the location of our embassy. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that.”
Ambassador Haley also warned that Americans will need to re-evaluate the current level of generous contributions the United States makes to the UN and how they will now choose to regard those “countries who disrespect us in the UN.”
President Trump was even more blunt in remarks he made the day before the General Assembly vote, as quoted by Reuters: "They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we're watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care."
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, during his remarks to the General Assembly, harshly criticized the countries supporting the resolution at the urging of the Palestinians. “Those who support today’s resolution are like puppets pulled by the strings of the Palestinian puppet masters,” said Ambassador Danon. “You are like marionettes forced to dance while the Palestinian leadership looks on with glee,” he continued. Ambassador Danon displayed a coin from the year 67 AD that was minted during the Jewish revolt against the Romans. “On this coin is written ‘Freedom of Zion.’ It proves the ancient connection of Jews to Jerusalem,” Ambassador Danon explained. “No UNESCO declaration, no empty speeches, no General Assembly resolution will ever drive us from Jerusalem,” he declared.
The UN’s handling of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been immorally one-sided. As Ambassador Haley said in her remarks to the General Assembly, “To its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the state of Israel.” Israel, far more than many of the member states that continue to denounce it, “stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about.”
In standing up for Israel, the only genuine democracy in the Middle East, against continuous efforts at the UN to demonize and delegitimize it, and standing up for U.S. sovereignty in deciding where to locate its own embassies, the Trump administration is displaying the “principled realism” so lacking during the last administration.