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UN General Assembly rejects Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital

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The United Nations general assembly has delivered a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump, voting by a huge majority to reject his unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The vote came after a redoubling of threats by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, who said that Washington would remember which countries “disrespected” America by voting against it.

Despite the warning, 128 members voted on Thursday in favour of the resolution supporting the long-standing international consensus that the status of Jerusalem – which is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians – can only be settled as an agreed final issue in a peace deal.

Although largely symbolic, the vote in emergency session of the world body had been the focus of days of furious diplomacy by both the Trump administration and Israel, including Trump’s threat to cut US funding to countries that did not back the US recognition.

But only nine states – including the United States and Israel –voted against the resolution. The other countries which supported Washington were Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Twenty-two of the EU 28 countries voted for the resolution, including the UK and France. Germany – which in the past has abstained on measures relating to Israel – also voted in favour.

35 countries abstained, including five EU states and Canada – which Palestinian officials had expected would support the US position. Ambassadors from several abstaining countries, including Mexico, used their time on the podium to criticise Trump’s unilateral move.

Another 21 delegations were absent from the vote, suggesting the Trump’s warning over funding cuts and Israel’s lobbying may have had some effect.

While support for the resolution was somewhat less than Palestinian officials had hoped, the meagre tally of just nine votes in support of the US and Israeli position was a serious diplomatic blow for Trump.

Immediately after the vote Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas described the result as a “victory for Palestine”.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the UN vote out of hand.

“Israel thanks President Trump for his unequivocal position in favour of Jerusalem and thanks the countries that voted together with Israel, together with the truth,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

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