Palestinians may ask UNGA to condemn US Jerusalem declaration

The forum allows for the Palestinians and the Arab states to issue a powerful diplomatic statement, but it lacks the impact of the UN Security Council, which also has enforcement capabilities.

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December 11, 2017 04:05
2 minute read.
Palestinians may ask UNGA to condemn US Jerusalem declaration

The United Nations Security Council votes, November 17, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League may seek a United Nations General Assembly resolution against US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, according to diplomatic sources.

Such a text is likely to garner a majority of the 193 UN member states. Already last month, 151 nations voted at the UNGA to disavow Israeli sovereignty.

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The forum allows for the Palestinians and the Arab states to issue a powerful diplomatic statement, but it lacks the impact of the UN Security Council, which also has enforcement capabilities.

In a statement issued after an emergency session in Cairo on Saturday, the Arab League called Trump’s declaration a “dangerous violation of international law” and said it would seek a UN Security Council resolution rejecting the US move.

But it is unlikely that the 15 UNSC members could pass such a text. It’s expected that the US – one of five UNSC states with veto power – would use it to prevent the text’s passage.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told CBS’s Face the Nation that Trump’s declaration, including his decision to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem, was the “right thing to do” because it’s the “will of the American people.”

“Courage breeds leadership. What you saw was a courageous move by the president. And of course any time you have to use courage, any time you have to go against the status quo, you’re going to have people saying the sky is falling,” Haley said.
US envoy to the UN Niki Haley says Trump's Jerusalem decision "right thing to do" (Reuters)

“But the sky is not falling. If anything, what we’re going to see is both sides are going to come to the table. They’re going to decide what they think Jerusalem should look like. And we’re going to support that process,” she said.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in New York Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post, “In response to the historic American announcement about Jerusalem, the Palestinians and their supporters are seeking to incite in the halls of the UN.

Instead of criticizing this courageous American act, the UN should instead unequivocally condemn the Palestinian rockets and stabbings against innocent Israelis.”

Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil urged the Arab League on Saturday to consider imposing economic sanctions against the United States to prevent the relocation of its embassy.

“Preemptive measures [must be] taken... beginning with diplomatic measures, then political, then economic and financial sanctions,” he said, without giving specific details.

No action was taken on his suggestion.

Separately, the UNGA is expected to approve 10 anti-Israel resolutions in December.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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