“What we have witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten,” said Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in response to the decision of the UN Security Council to force a vote on a resolution that challenged the decision of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
All 15 members of the UN Security Council, except for the United States, voted in favor of a resolution put forward by Egypt on Monday that expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” The Egyptian-drafted resolution said “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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” (Emphasis added).
Haley took issue with the attempt by the Security Council to order the United States to comply with a resolution that would dictate to America where it placed its embassy in another country. “The fact that this veto is being done in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council.”
The Security Council is the most powerful part of the UN because it is the group that can actually direct action to be taken in the name of the UN. However, when the UN was formed in 1945, the charter of the UN stipulated that any one of the five “permanent” members of the Security Council — the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, and China — could veto any resolutions passed by the Council. This was the first time in six years that the United States has exercised its veto power.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign pledge with his decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, which Israel has long considered its capital. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on his Facebook page to thank Trump and Haley for the veto.
When Trump announced his intention to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his decision was met with opposition from many world leaders. Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, was particularly incensed because he has been hopeful that East Jerusalem would be the capital of Palestinian state. He told Trump that the move will have “dangerous consequences.”
The UN’s Middle East peace envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, cited some of those “dangerous consequences” just before the vote on the resolution. “The situation has become more tense with an increase in incidents, notably rockets fired from Gaza and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.”
Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1517 until that empire was on the losing side of World War I. Beginning in the 1800s, Jews began purchasing land in Palestine, and joining with the small number of Jews still living there. Since about 1890, Jews became the majority in Jerusalem. When the Turks lost the First World War, European nations took some of the Ottoman Empire, with the British obtaining a mandate in what was known as Palestine.
In 1948, Israel declared its independence, precipitating the first of several wars with its Arab neighbors. In 1967, as a result of the Six-Day War, Israel took over the eastern part of Jerusalem. In 1980, Israel declared the city its capital. The U.S. Congress later passed a law recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, but gave presidents the authority to waive that recognition, declaring the waiver every six months. Trump finally announced in early December that he would move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel has controlled for 50 years.
Numerous resolutions of the UN General Assembly have denounced Israel’s move to make Jerusalem its capital, though Jerusalem first became the capital of Israel about 1,000 years before Christ, and it is unlikely that Israel would ever give it up voluntarily. Thus, the stalemate between Israel and its Arab neighbors over the issue is most likely unresolvable.
During his 2012 campaign for president, Ron Paul stressed the issue of national sovereignty when he was asked about the “Jerusalem Question.” Paul replied, “The real issue here is not what America wants, but what does Israel want. If Israel wants their capital to be Jerusalem, then the United States should honor that.”
This is the issue that has been largely ignored by the American media and many American politicians. Now, the UN is not only threatening the sovereignty of Israel, with its attempted Security Council resolution. It also attempted to order the United States to waive its national sovereignty to decide whether our country can place our embassy where we wish it to be.
When the UN charter was adopted, one of its provisions was that it would not interfere in the domestic politics of its member nations. Yet, that is exactly what the UN is attempting to do to both Israel and the United States. It is a good thing that Trump’s UN ambassador raised the issue of national sovereignty in vetoing the Security Council resolution, which attempted to order the United States to change its policy.
An even better move would be for the Trump administration and Congress to withdraw our ambassador from the UN, withdraw our nation from the United Nations, and tell the UN to move its headquarters off our soil.