Jerusalem: Nigeria, 127 other countries ignore Trump; vote against U.S., Israel

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Nigeria on Thursday joined 127 other countries to back a UN resolution which effectively called on the U.S. to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A total of 128 countries approved the non-binding resolution. Nine countries voted against it, 21 did not turn up to vote, while 35 abstained.

Togo was the only African country that voted against the resolution. The other eight that voted against the resolution were the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau.

Apart from the U.S., all the other four permanent Security Council members voted in support of the resolution on Thursday. The vote comes a day after President Donald Trump threatened that the U.S. could withdraw funding from countries that back the resolution.

“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us,” the American leader told reporters at the White House. “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday.

That threat did not, however, deter countries like Nigeria, Egypt and several others who despite receiving millions of dollars of American aid every year, chose to stand by majority of the world in condemning the U.S. decision.

The solution adopted by the UN General Assembly states that any decisions regarding the status of Jerusalem are “null and void” and must be cancelled.

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Thursday’s vote by the General Assembly comes days after the UN Security Council adopted a similar resolution. That resolution was, however, vetoed by the U.S. Both Israel and Palestine want Jerusalem as their capital with most countries of the World supporting a two-state solution that would see East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Thursday’s resolution is non-binding and therefore largely symbolic, but the voting pattern indicates the extent to which the Trump administration’s decision to defy a 50-year international consensus on Jerusalem’s status has unsettled world politics and contributed to America’s diplomatic isolation.

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A spokesman for Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed the result, calling it a “a victory for Palestine.” After the vote, the German Foreign Office tweeted its reasoning, writing that “the status of Jerusalem should be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. It should not be prejudged.”

Israel denounced Thursday’s vote, likening it to a 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism. “It’s shameful that this meeting is even taking place,” Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon, told the body.

Israeli Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu thanked Mr. Trump for his stance on Jerusalem and condemned the vote. Earlier, he slammed the UN as a “house of lies.”

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel whether UN recognise that or not. It took 70 years for the U.S. to recognise it officially and it will take more years for the UN to recognise it as well. The state of Israel completely rejects this vote, before it is made,” Mr. Netanyahu said prior to the voting.

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