INTERNATIONAL

UN to vote on draft nullifying Jerusalem move

A protest in Jakarta against the recent U.S. decision on Jerusalem.AFPADEK BERRY  

The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution affirming that any change to the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be reversed, in response to the U.S. decision to recognise the city as Israel’s capital.

Egypt circulated the draft text on Saturday, and diplomats said the council could vote on the proposed measure as early as on Monday.

Breaking with the international consensus, U.S. President Donald Trump this month announced that he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv, sparking protests and strong condemnation.

The draft resolution stresses that Jerusalem is an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” and expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem”, without specifically mentioning Mr. Trump’s move.

‘No legal effect’

“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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded,” it said.

Diplomats said they expected the United States to use its veto power to block the measure while most, if not all, of the 14 other council members were expected to back the draft resolution.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon “strongly condemned” the draft, dismissing it as an attempt by the Palestinians “to reinvent history”.

The draft resolution calls on all countries to refrain from opening embassies in Jerusalem, reflecting concerns that other governments could follow the U.S. lead.

It demands that all member-states not recognise any actions that are contrary to UN resolutions on the status of the city.

Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized during the 1967 war.

The Palestinians had sought a toughly-worded draft resolution that would have directly called on the U.S. administration to scrap its decision.

But some U.S. allies on the council such as Britain, France, Egypt, Japan and Ukraine were reluctant to be too hard-hitting and insisted that the proposed measure should reaffirm the position enshrined in current resolutions, diplomats said.

Backed by Muslim countries, the Palestinians are expected to turn to the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution rejecting the U.S. decision, if, as expected, the measure is vetoed by the United States at the council.