- The U.S. vetoed a U.N. resolution rejecting diplomatic facilities in Jerusalem
- 14 council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-sponsored resolution
- Trump's decision has created a "more tense” situation in the region
- The Arab group in the U.N. will gather to assess the situation
The U.S. on Monday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that rejects the establishment of diplomatic facilities in the contested city of Jerusalem, breaking with the rest of the council.
The move comes less than two weeks after Washington moved to recognize the holy city as Israel's capital and begin the process to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv -- the city where all other nations house their main diplomatic facilities.
Fourteen council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-sponsored resolution that would have demanded U.S. President Donald Trump reverse course on the decision. The U.S. was the sole dissenting vote.
Jerusalem's status has long been considered a final status issue to be determined by Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and Trump's decision is widely seen as undercutting that long-standing understanding. East Jerusalem, which Palestinians are seeking as the capital of their state, was occupied by Israel in 1967.
Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N.'s special coordinator for Middle East peace, said Trump's decision has created a "more tense” situation in the region.
A “lack of significant steps on the ground” towards a long-sought two-state solution is empowering radicals and weakening moderates, Mladenov told the council.
"The weakening of the international architecture in support of peace is increasing the risks to the region," he said.
Also speaking prior to the vote, the U.S.'s envoy to the U.N. said the U.S. has "every right to" place its embassy at a location of its choosing. Nikki Haley slammed the U.N.'s efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace, saying the international body "sets back the cause of peace.”
Last year, under the Barack Obama administration, the U.S. opted to abstain from a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, allowing it to pass the body.
The U.S. is Israel's biggest ally, giving the country more than $3 billion in military aid annually, and regularly using its veto power in the Security Council to protect it from international condemnation.
The U.S. is one of the five permanent members of the council, and has the right to veto any resolutions it chooses.
The United Kingdom, a fellow permanent member, voted in favor of the council's resolution, its envoy said, because it fell in line with London's long-standing position on Jerusalem's status.
"Our view is that the issue of Jerusalem is a final status issue, that Jerusalem should be a shared capital for Israelis and for Palestinians, and the U.K. Embassy, for now, will remain in Tel Aviv," Matthew Rycroft told reporters before the vote.
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Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid expressed regret in a written statement.
"Egypt is saddened by the veto of this important decision which heeds the conscience of the international community and openly rejects U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."
Abu Zeid noted that the Arab group in the U.N. will gather to assess the situation and discuss the steps to be taken for the protection of Jerusalem’s status.
Palestine’s presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina condemned the U.S. veto, calling it a mockery of the international community and a concession to Israeli occupation and aggression, according to Palestine’s official news agency WAFA.
Abu Rudeina stressed that this veto would lead to further isolation of the U.S. and is a provocation of the international community.
Palestine's Hamas group said in a written statement that Jerusalem is Palestine’s capital forever, and decisions of the U.S. and Israel would not change this fact.
In the statement, Hamas urged the international community and the Arab and Islamic world to act for the preservation of Jerusalem and holy places and warned Israel not to take steps to change Jerusalem's present status.
"This counter-stance against unilateral steps on Jerusalem's recognition as the capital of Israel shows that we are not alone, and our actual concern should be the free world,” Merzuk Ali El Ganim, Kuwait’s parliament speaker, said in a written statement.
He also thanked Egypt for the resolution it submitted to the U.N. Security Council, which is like an international referendum.
Ali Karadaghi, secretary general of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) headquartered in Qatar, described the decision on his Twitter account as ‘terror and a challenge for all countries.’
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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