The United States has found itself isolated in the UN Security Council over its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with plans afoot to move its Embassy from Tel Aviv.
During an urgent meeting of the Council, countries expressed regret at Washington’s decision including close allies who called the actions unhelpful for the prospects of peace in the region.
And while the UN has warned that the decision risks a violent escalation in tensions, the United States defended the move will accusing the United Nations itself of having done more damage to the prospects of peace than advancing them.
This was the tense conversation between the Palestinian Ambassador and his United States counterpart before the start of the meeting.
As country after country rejected the UN move as a violation of international law that runs counter to several UN Security Council resolutions, Francois Delatrre France Ambassador says, “As the question of Jerusalem is among the keys to the Middle East, it is more important than ever before to recall our collective commitment to conservation of the international position of the specific status of those cities. At stake is respect for international law and the legitimate rights of each of the parties. At stake is the legitimacy of the Security Council, at stake is the conservation of the two-state solution.”
The UK said it disagreed with the decision and called for the US to produce a detailed proposal for peace between the two sides. Matthew Rycroft UK Ambassador says, “In line with relevant Security Council resolution including 242, 478 and 2334, we regard East Jerusalem as part of the occupied Palestinian territories. We therefore disagree with the US decision to move its Embassy to Jerusalem and unilaterally to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel before a final status agreement.”
Speaking from Jerusalem, the UN’s Middle East envoy predicted that in the absence of a negotiated peace deal, the region risked being engulfed in a vortex of religious radicalism.
UN Middle East Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov says, “Just as much as it’s up to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to urgently advance a just and lasting resolution of this conflict, the SG has been clear that realizing a two state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, is the only way that such a vision can be achieved.”
The US Ambassador was undeterred, defending President Trump’s decision.
United States Ambassador Nikki Haley says, “Over many years the UN has outrageously been of the world’s foremost centres of hostility towards Israel. The UN has done much more damage to the prospects of Middle East Peace than to advance them. We will not be a party to that. The United States no longer stands by when Israel is unfairly attacked in the UN. And the US will not be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.”
The US decision violates several Council resolutions that specifically call for countries to withdraw embassies from Jerusalem pending its final statutes determination.