The United States found itself isolated at a special United Nations Security Council meeting in its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel , a move that set off alarms about the risk of escalating conflict in the Middle East.
Eight of the 15 members of the UN Security Council, the organisation which looks out for peace and security around the world, had called for an urgent meeting on Friday to analyse the decision taken by Washington, Efe news agency reported.
A sense of how isolated the United States had become was in the air due to the decision announced by President Donald Trump, who since his electoral campaign had expressed an obvious favouritism for Israel’s stance on the matter.
“The status of Jerusalem must be determined through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians leading to a final status agreement,” the five European nations said in a statement at the end of the meeting.
The European Union “has a clear and united position: we believe that the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two States, and with Jerusalem as the capital of both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine,” the statement said, indicating that until that occurs, the EU will not recognise any sovereignty over Jerusalem.
The European statement was the only collective position issued at the end of the Security Council meeting, which closed without a joint statement or resolution of any kind.
Meanwhile, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, defended Trump’s announcement and took the occasion to slam the United Nations for what she believes is its “hostility” toward Israel.
Ms. Haley said that for many years, the United Nations “has outrageously been one of the world’s foremost centers of hostility towards Israel”.
At the start of the Security Council meeting, the UN special envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, sounded the alarm about the recent U.S. decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In a videoconference from Jerusalem, Mr. Mladenov warned of the “potential risk of violent escalation” that exists following that decision and asked that all parties choose dialogue and avoid provocations.
Mr. Mladenov said that for both Israelis and Palestinians, Jerusalem “is and always will be the centre of their life, their culture,” as well as the “symbol and cornerstone” of the faith of many millions of people around the world.
“Jerusalem is a final status issue for which a comprehensive, just and lasting solution must be achieved through negotiations between the parties,” said the UN special envoy to the Middle East.
Referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the special envoy said it has caused great “anger” among Palestinians and “anxiety” across the Middle East.
“Only through constructive dialogue can we hope to achieve peace and I call on all parties to remain engaged,” Mr. Mladenov said.