World View: General Assembly Jerusalem Vote: Low ‘Yes’ Count Humiliates Palestinians

The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • General Assembly Jerusalem vote: Low ‘yes’ count humiliates Palestinians
  • Palestinians in Jerusalem fail to get excited by UN vote

General Assembly Jerusalem vote: Low ‘yes’ count humiliates Palestinians

Turkey's president Erdogan at United Nations on Thursday
Turkey’s president Erdogan at United Nations on Thursday

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted 128-9 with 35 abstentions in favor of a resolution demanding that all states must obey Security Council resolutions, and which supposedly therefore makes the declaration by US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to be “null and void.” The resolution had been sponsored by Turkey and Yemen.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital changes nothing on the ground, so the recognition was little more than symbolic. Thursday’s General Assembly resolution is non-binding, so it is completely symbolic. And therefore the Palestinian victory was only symbolic.

The mainstream media have been calling it “a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump” or a “new repudiation of the Trump administration,” or “proof that the United States is isolated in the world” or a “major humiliation for Trump, Israel and the United States.”

The problem is that it was none of those things. It was actually a humiliation for the United Nations and the Palestinians, because the vote, at 128-9, was far lower than expected and far lower than votes on Jerusalem-related resolutions in the past:

  • Last month, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (GA/11982) declaring Israel’s Actions in East Jerusalem “Null and Void.” The vote was 151-6, with 9 abstentions.
  • In November 2012, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (67/19) upgrading the state of Palestine to a non-member observer state status in the United Nations. The vote was 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
  • In March 2012, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (66/225) demanding that Israel cease the exploitation of natural resources in Palestinian territories, and recognized the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of Israeli violation of their rights. The vote was 167-7, with 6 abstentions.

In the case of the last two of these resolutions, they both occurred during President Barack Obama’s administration, and they were opposed by Obama. So if Thursday’s vote was a stinging defeat for Trump, then previous votes must have been stinging defeats for Obama.

In view of these past votes, the Palestinians had hoped and expected that Thursday’s vote would be approved by at least 150 votes. The result of 129 votes was a big humiliation.

The low vote count was undoubtedly the result of threats by the Trump administration to cut foreign aid to countries that supported the resolution. US ambassador Nikki Haley had said that the U.S. would be “taking names” of those countries.

This threat prompted numerous furious responses prior to the vote. The most furious was from Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

Mr. Trump, you cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with your dollars. Our decision is clear.

I call on the whole world: Don’t you dare sell your democratic struggle and your will for petty dollars.

I hope and expect the US won’t get the result it expects from there (the UN) and the world will give a very good lesson to the US.

In view of the actual vote, it was apparently the United States that gave a very good lesson to the United Nations.

The question now is: What consequences will the United States have to pay for this threat and this power play?

President Obama announced a “red line” saying that the US would strike Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad if he used chemical weapons. When al-Assad crossed the line and used Sarin gas, Obama flip-flopped on his threat, which was disastrous for American foreign policy.

Now it seems that President Trump set a “red line,” and that many nations crossed the red line on Thursday by voting in favor of the UN resolution. So what is Trump going to do now? Much of that foreign aid is in support of America’s own security, and cutting it sharply would be a danger to America. On the other hand, flip-flopping on the red line commitment could be harmful to the administration’s credibility. Presumably, we will know the answer soon. United Nations and NBC News and United Nations (30-Nov) and Al Jazeera

Palestinians in Jerusalem fail to get excited by UN vote

President Trump’s declaration on December 6 of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has infuriated much of the aging leadership of the Palestinians, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

But as for Palestinians “on the street” in Jerusalem, it has generated more cynicism than excitement.

The average Palestinian is around 20 years old. The Oslo Accords agreement, signed in 1993, was supposed to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli issue, but the average Palestinian knows that the Oslo agreement accomplished nothing and that nothing has changed, except that their octogenarian leaders are still giving speeches and doing nothing more to change things.

Palestinian leaders had hoped for several weeks of “days of rage” by thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem, as occurred in July, when the thousands of Palestinians poured into Jerusalem streets after Israel installed metal detectors outside the al-Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount compound, in order to deter terrorists. This was the worst violence in Jerusalem for years, but no such violence occurred after Trump’s Jerusalem announced. There was brief violence, but it fizzled quickly.

To the Palestinians in Jerusalem, Thursday’s General Assembly angry speeches by Erdogan and Abbas were nothing new. They had heard the same speeches dozens or hundreds of times before, and nothing changes.

One Palestinian activist said, “It’s a pointless exercise. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has to evaluate the whole diplomatic process of going to the UN. The experience we’ve had is that for decades now these resolutions have not changed anything.” Asia Times and Al Jazeera

Related Articles

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Jerusalem, United Nations, Yemen, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Oslo Accords, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC
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