The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem as part of six anti-Israel resolutions it approved on Thursday in New York. The vote was 151 in favor and six against, with nine abstentions.
The resolution came as the Trump Administration was rumored to be actively considering relocating its embassy to Jerusalem.
“The president has said that he has given serious consideration to the matter, and we’re looking at it with great care,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
She added that US President Donald Trump had until December 4th to make a decision on the embassy relocation or waive the matter for another six months.
In New York, only six countries out of 193 UN member states fully supported Israel’s ties Jerusalem: Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, the United States and Israel itself.
The nine countries who abstained were: Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Honduras, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan and Togo.
The resolution stated that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.”
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These words fall in line with similar resolutions approved in 2015 and 2016 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), including the resolution’s omission of the title “Temple Mount,” using instead only the Arabic term for the site, “Haram al-Sharif.”
The UNGA’s Jerusalem resolution called for "respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif, in word and practice.”
But the UNESCO votes are taken in smaller committees or boards and do not have the same representative power as the UNGA to measure the global opinion of UN member states.
The voting patterns of many of Israel’s allies, particularly among the EU nations, also differ in New York. The same countries that oppose or abstain from anti-Israel votes at UNESCO or the UN Human Rights Council often support such texts at the UNGA.
On Thursday, all the EU member states voted against Israel and in favor of the Jerusalem resolution, including countries that abstained or opposed the same text at UNESCO.
In a statement to the UNGA after the vote, the EU warned it would change its stance on such texts in the future unless the language was more neutral.
“The EU stresses the need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historical significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions,” the Estonian representative said on behalf of the EU.
“The future choice of language may effect the EU’s collective support for the resolution,” she added.
Mexico also voted against Israel with regard to the Jerusalem resolution, even though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had just lauded the country for its support of Israel at the UN.
Kenya, which recently hosted Netanyahu, also voted against the resolution with regard to Jerusalem on Thursday.
Israel’s representative at the meeting said the omission of Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, was deliberate and yet “another instance of the Palestinian refusal to recognize the proven historic connection between Judaism, Christianity and the Temple Mount.”
The US opposed the resolutions. Its representative expressed disappointment that despite supposed support for reform, UN members continued to single out Israel.
This year alone, he said, the UN’s bodies have approved 18 resolutions that were biased against Israel.
“This dynamic is unacceptable. It is inappropriate that the UN, an institution founded on the idea that all nations should be treated equally, should be so often used by member states to treat another state so unequally,” he said.
The UNSG on Thursday also approved a second resolution that condemned Israeli settlement activity and called upon it to withdraw to the pre-1967 line. This included leaving the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria during the Six-Day War.
Some 157 nations voted in favor of the text, seven opposed it and eight abstained.
All the European Union’s member states voted to support the resolution. The abstaining countries included: Australia, Cameroon, Fiji, Honduras, Paraguay, Papa, New Guinea, South Sudan and Tongo.
Those nations opposing the resolution were: Canada, Israel, Nauru, Micronesia, Marshal Islands, Solomon Islands and the United States.
Among the six resolutions was one, sponsored by Syria, which condemned Israel’s continued presence on the Golan Heights.
It was approved with 105 nations in favor, six against and 58 who abstained.
Israel noted the absurdity of such a resolution at a time when the Syrian regime was using chemical weapons against its own citizens while Israel was treating the wounded of that conflict who managed to cross its borders.
The UN General Assembly is expected to approve another ten anti-Israel resolutions by the end of the year.
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