The United Nations general assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to condemn President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in a rare emergency session of the global body.
Canada reportedly decided not to vote in support of the United States because it did not want to be perceived as a puppet of the US after President Trump threatened to withdraw aid from countries that voted against him.
According to Barak Ravid, a reporter for Israel’s Channel 10 News, Canada considered voting against the resolution calling on the Trump administration to reverse its Jerusalem decision, but ultimately decided to abstain to avoid being perceived as too willing to align itself with the U.S.
BREAKING: Canada considered voting against the UNGA resolution on Trump’s Jerusalem announcement but changed vote to abstention after hearing Trump’s threats in order not to be perceived as US puppet, Western diplomats tell me
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) December 21, 2017
“Canada is strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. Canada’s longstanding position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute,” Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said.
“Canada continues to support building the conditions necessary for the parties to find a peaceful solution,” he added. “We are disappointed that this resolution is one sided and does not advance prospects for peace to which we aspire, which is why we will abstain on today’s vote.”
Trump discusses UN: “We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.” pic.twitter.com/9VhgMkTmd3
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) December 20, 2017
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us,” Trump said of countries that planned to vote for the resolution. “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
In a speech delivered before vote, Haley noted that the United States is the single largest contributor to the UN and its agencies and said that in return it expected support for its decision.
“The arguments have already been made. The decision was in accordance to US law dating back to 1995. The decision does not prejudge any final status agreement. The decision does nothing to harm peace efforts,” she said.
“The United States will remember this day when it was singled out in the United Nations for the act of exercising our sovereignty.
“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. It is what the American people want us to do.
“This vote will make a difference at how America looks at the UN, and how we look at countries who disrespect us at the UN.”
Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, told the assembly: “We meet today not due to any animosity towards the United States, but because of a decision that counts as an aggression.
“The decision will not affect the status of Jerusalem. Rather it affects the status of the United States as a mediator of peace.”
He said they had ignored warnings about inflaming tensions, and described the decision as “illegal” and “provocative”.
Haley had sent a letter warning countries against voting to censure the US and said that the US will be “taking names”.
At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names. pic.twitter.com/ZsusB8Hqt4
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 19, 2017
“The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue,” she wrote.Mr al-Maliki picked up on her words on Thursday, telling the assembly: “History records names. It records names of those who voted for what was right.”