UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday in protest against President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, largely ignoring Trump’s threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him.
The nonbinding resolution declaring U.S. action on Jerusalem “null and void” passed by a vote of 128-9 - a victory for the Palestinians, but one that was not as big as they had predicted. Amid the Trump administration’s threats, 35 of the 193 U.N. member nations abstained and 21 others were absent.
The resolution, sponsored by Yemen and Turkey, reaffirmed what has been the United Nations’ stand on the divided holy city since 1967: that Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said afterward that he totally rejects the “preposterous” resolution.
The United States and Israel had waged an intensive lobbying campaign against the resolution, with U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley sending letters to over 180 countries warning that Washington would be taking names of those who voted against the U.S.
But when it came to the vote, major U.S. aid recipients including Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa supported the resolution.
The nine countries voting “no” were the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands and Togo. Among the notable abstentions were Australia, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic and Mexico.
The absent countries included Kenya, which was the fifth-largest recipient of U.S. aid last year, Georgia and Ukraine, all of which have close U.S. ties.