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Palestinians call for emergency UN meeting on Jerusalem

Members of the UN Security Council raise their hands as they vote on a draft resolution that would reject US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a meeting on the situation in the Middle East including Palestine on December 18, 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York. (AFP)
AMMAN/NEW YORK: Palestinian leaders will call for an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly after the US on Monday vetoed a Security Council resolution on the status of Jerusalem.

The veto was “unacceptable and threatens the stability of the international community because it disrespects it,” said Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina.

Palestinians would continue to insist on the rule of international law no matter how many times the US cast its veto, Anees Sweidan, head of the Palestinian international affairs department, told Arab News.

“We will be back in the UN Security Council and we will also go to the General Assembly, where the US has no veto power, in order to insist that no solution can be imposed on Palestinians in regard to our capital, Jerusalem.”

Ziad Khalil AbuZayyad, spokesman for international affairs in the Fatah movement, told Arab News: “The American vision for a peace process doesn’t give Palestinians their rights because it doesn’t include justice or equality. We condemn such actions coming from a world power that considers itself a democracy.”

The resolution followed this month’s decision by the US to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv.

It stated that “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status or demographic composition of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded.”

It called on “all states to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the holy city of Jerusalem,” under the terms of a 1980 Security Council resolution. Without naming any country, it expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”

The resolution was sponsored by Egypt, and the other 14 members of the Security Council voted for it, including US allies Britain and France. The depth of support illustrated America’s isolation, Abu Rudein said. “The international community must work now to protect the Palestinian people.”

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, called the resolution “an insult” that would not be forgotten, and said the UN had forced the US to cast a veto simply because of its right to decide where to put its embassy.

“The fact that this veto is being done in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council,” she said.

After the vote, Palestinian leaders held a closed meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas. They are expected to defy the US and apply for the state of Palestine to join about 22 international agencies.

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