UNITED NATIONS: The United States on Monday vetoed a United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) draft resolution rejecting the recent recognition by US President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his plans to move the American embassy to the city.

The widely expected veto was announced by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, hours before the vote.

Along with the UK, France, Russia and China, the US is a permanent member of the UNSC, with the power to block any resolution from passing with the use of a veto.

The Egyptian-drafted text reiterated the UN position on Jerusalem, affirming “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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council”.

In an effort to mollify the impact in order to avoid the American veto, the text did not mention the United States by name, saying instead it “deeply regrets recent decisions regarding the status of Jerusalem”.

The vote comes less than two weeks after Trump’s announcement to move US embassy to Jerusalem which reversed decades of US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The US and the international community have long maintained that the solution to the Middle East conflict would be the formation of a Palestinian state — alongside the Israeli one — with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Trump’s declaration provoked number of rallies within Palestine and in major cities across the world.

Since the decision, nine Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,900 injured in protests in the occupied territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Anticipating the US veto, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank promised to take the issue to the UN General Assembly to seek the passing of a resolution there.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2017

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