United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Monday that the veto she cast against a U.N. Security Council resolution reaffirming previous Security Council resolutions that do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, was a “defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process.”
“The draft resolution also reiterated the council’s view that no country should establish an embassy in Jerusalem,” The New York Times reported, “and that Jerusalem’s status is an issue to be resolved by Israel and the Palestinians, who want eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.”
The Egyptian-drafted resolution stated that Jerusalem “is a final-status issue to be resolved through negotiations.”
The resolution was introduced in objection to President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
But, as Haley pointed out, Trump’s declaration did nothing to predetermine the outcome of negotiations, “The President took great care not to prejudge final status negotiations in any way, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. That remains a subject to be negotiated only by the parties. That position is fully in line with the previous Security Council resolutions.”
While not saying that the U.S. would move its embassy to Jerusalem, Haley also argued that “the United States’ has a sovereign right to determine where and whether we establish an embassy. I suspect very few Member States would welcome Security Council pronouncements about their sovereign decisions.”
As far as the allegation in the resolution that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital somehow damaged the prospects for peace, Haley said, “A ‘peace process’ that is damaged by the simple recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is not a peace process; it is a justification for an endless stalemate.”
Haley also observed that the United States “has done more than any other country to assist the Palestinian people” having given over $5 billion to the Palestinians since 1994 in various forms of assistance. She also noted that the U.S. contributes 36% of the budget of UNRWA, the U.N. agency devoted to Palestinians, and questioned how “a group of countries whose total contributions to the Palestinian people is less than one percent of UNRWA’s budget” could say that the U.S. was not sufficiently committed to peace.
Trump’s statement not only recognized the reality that “by any measure of substance, Jerusalem is obviously Israel’s capital,” The Israel Project Senior Fellow Julie Lenarz wrote, but also “honored a bipartisan commitment made over 20 years ago.”
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