Affirmative vote: on US' move on Jerusalem

The U.S. must heed the UN resolution and reconsider its Jerusalem move

The UN General Assembly vote on a resolution calling for the final settlement of Jerusalem through negotiations may have been pitched as a contest between Israel and Palestine; however, it became a referendum on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise the city as Israel’s capital. The final outcome should force the U.S. to rethink its move, with 128 of the UNGA’s 193 member-countries voting for the resolution, and only nine against it. Among those voting for the resolution that “deeply regretted” the U.S. decision were its NATO allies, Germany, the U.K. and France, its Asian allies Japan and South Korea; its closest neighbours Canada and Mexico chose merely to abstain. The overwhelming majority ignored Mr. Trump and his UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s threats that all countries that defied America would be ‘named and shamed’ and face cancellation of U.S. aid. The suggestion was that the U.S. would exact its revenge by refusing to support these countries when they next need it at the UN. Israel showed deep derision for the world body, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to as a “house of lies”, while his UN envoy called the 128 countries “puppets forced to dance”. Such threats and epithets mark new lows in international diplomacy, and Israel and the U.S. come away looking like churlish bullies for issuing them. With all its weaknesses, the UN is a global collective, and it is imperative to acknowledge its mandate when such a large number of nations speak in one voice. The U.S. only recently asserted its intention to uphold the international rules-based order in its National Security Strategy document. It cannot now just walk away from both UN resolutions and its national commitment to the Israel-Palestine peace process by unilaterally changing its stand on the status of Jerusalem, without being accused of doublespeak.


By voting for the resolution, India has affirmed its traditional policy in favour of a negotiated settlement for Jerusalem as part of a larger two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi avoided mentioning the contours of the settlement during his visit to Jerusalem in July this year, India’s support to the creation of a Palestinian state according to UN Resolution 181 (1948) was heavily underscored in his statement to the UN in November, just days before Mr. Trump’s decision. There had been some speculation that in the face of the U.S. threats over the resolution, as well as Mr. Netanyahu’s impending visit to India in January, India would dilute its support to those principles in favour of close strategic ties with both nations. In choosing to vote for the resolution at the UNGA, India has shown a clarity of purpose that also aligns with the broad global consensus.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 2:07:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/affirmative-vote/article22261349.ece

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