US forced to veto UN resolution condemning Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

The US was left isolated and forced to use its veto at the UN on Monday after Britain and all other members of the Security Council voted for a resolution condemning Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. 

Fourteen out of the council’s 15 members supported the resolution, which called Mr Trump’s declaration “null and void” under international law, but the measure ultimately failed after the US exercised its veto power.

Although the resolution did not pass, the spectacle of Britain, France and other US allies voting against America illustrated how the US position on Jerusalem is far outside the international consensus.  

Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the UN, told the Council why Britain was voting against the US.

"We disagree with the US decision unilaterally to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel before a final status agreement, and to move the US embassy to Jerusalem," he said.

"As recent events in the region have shown, these decisions are unhelpful to the prospects for peace in the region, an aim that all of us in this Council remain committed to. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it."

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The resolution, which was drafted by Egypt, did not mention Mr Trump nor the US by name. 

But it expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem” and called on all countries not to move their embassies to the disputed city.

“Any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council,” the resolution said. 

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador the UN, was dismissive as members of the council discussed the measure and instead attacked the global body for what she was its bias against Israel and interference in peace talks. 

‘This security council put the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians further out of reach by injecting itself yet again inbetween the two parties to the conflict,” Mrs Haley said.  

“If the United Nations’ history in the peace efforts proves anything it is that talking in New York cannot the the place of face to face negotiations between the regional parties. It only sets back the cause of peace – not advance it.” 

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, thanked Mrs Haley for casting the veto. 

"On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump. Thank you, Nikki Haley."

Before the vote, the UN coordinator for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, briefed the council on the spike in tensions in the region since news of Mr Trump’s announcement. 

At least 27 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel since Hamas called for an escalation in response to the White House move, he said. Israel has retaliated with strikes against Hamas facilities in response.