The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly during a rare emergency meeting today to ask nations not to establish diplomatic missions in the historic city of Jerusalem, as delegates warned that the recent decision by the United States to do so risked igniting a religious war across the already turbulent Middle East and even beyond.
By a recorded vote of 128 in favour of and 9 against (Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, United States), with 35 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the resolution “Status of Jerusalem”, by which it declared “null and void” any actions intended to alter Jerusalem’s character, status or demographic composition. Calling on all States to refrain from establishing embassies in the Holy City, it also demanded that they comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions and work to reverse the “negative trends” imperiling a two‑State resolution of the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict.
“We meet today not because of any animosity to the United States of America,” insisted Riad Al‑Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine. Instead, the emergency session had been called to make the voice of the vast majority of the international community — and that of people around the world — heard on the question of Jerusalem/Al‑Quds Al‑Sharif. He described the 6 December decision by the United States to recognize the city as Israel’s capital, and to move its embassy there, as an aggressive and dangerous move, cautioning that it could inflame tensions and lead to a religious war that “has no boundaries”.
He went on to state that the decision would have no impact on the Holy City’s status, but it nevertheless compromised the role of the United States in the peace process. Moreover, it did nothing but serve the forces of extremism around the world, he said, pointing out that even the closest allies of the United States could not turn a blind eye to its actions. The Assembly was meeting in the wake of the Security Council’s failure to adopt a similar draft resolution, even as 14 of its 15 members had voted in its favour. “The veto will not stop us,” he declared in that regard, underlining that Al‑Quds “will not fall to any siege, monopolization or domination”.