Netanyahu Thanks Countries That Supported Israel at UN Vote

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a conference at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. Netanyahu said President Donald Trump "bound himself forever" to the history of Jerusalem by recognizing the city as Israel's capital. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel on Thursday dismissed a UN vote that rejected U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanking the U.S. and several other countries for standing up for “the truth.”

“Israel rejects the UN decision and, in parallel, expresses satisfaction at the large number of states that did not vote for the resolution, countries that Prime Minister Netanyahu has visited in Europe, Africa and Latin America,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said after the vote, according to a report in the Times of Israel.

“Israel is grateful to President Trump for his steadfast position on Jerusalem and thanks the nations that voted with Israel, and with the truth,” the PMO added.

In a video post published on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said, “Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital — always was, always will be. But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refuse to participate in this theater of the absurd.”

Earlier on Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly defied the U.S. and overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The resolution called on other countries not to move their diplomatic missions to the city.

In total, 128 member states voted for the resolution.

American envoy to the UN Nikki Haley warned countries that are recipients of U.S. aid that the White House will remember which countries stood by it during the vote.

Nine countries — the US, Israel, Togo, Micronesia, Guatemala, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands and Honduras — voted against the resolution.

Thirty-five countries abstained, including some that were expected to support the move, such as Colombia, Mexico, Malawi and Rwanda. A further 21 countries did not vote at all, with their representatives missing from the plenum during the vote.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman issued a statement in which he reminded Israelis of the longstanding disdain some Israeli representatives held for votes on resolutions of a similar kind.

“Let’s just remember that this is the same UN about which our first ambassador to the organization, Abba Eban, once said: ‘If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions,’” Liberman said.

“There is nothing new in what just happened at the UN,” he added, praising the U.S. as “the moral beacon shining out of the darkness.”

Other government ministers also slammed the UN vote. Minister of Internal Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said:

“The historic connection between Israel and Jerusalem is stronger than any vote by the ‘United Nations’ — nations which are united only by their fear and their refusal to recognize the simple truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay said following the vote that “Jerusalem was our capital before the resolution and [will be] after it. I urge the UN to deal with issues it can actually influence for the better.”

The leader of Israel’s third largest party, Arab Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh, disagreed, saying, “In the international arena, there still exists a large and definitive majority that believes that the Palestinian people, like all other nations, deserve a place in this world and the right to self-determination.”

“This evening’s vote by the majority of the world’s nations against Trump’s announcement, in spite of the pressure and threats, flies in the face of Trump’s and Netanyahu’s diplomatic policy and is a clear statement by the international community in support of peace and the right of the Palestinians to an independent state whose capital is East Jerusalem.”

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