Israel thanked the United States for vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution that rejected the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump’s decision and said America “will not be told, by any country, where we will put our embassy.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude for the veto to Haley in particular.
“On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispelled the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies,” Netanyahu said in a video message.
The U.S. cast the sole veto while the other 14 members voted in favor of the text, which, while not specifically mentioning the U.S. announcement, noted its “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
“Any decision 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status, or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded,” the resolution stated.
Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the UN, attacked the resolution.
“Members of the Security Council can vote another hundred times to criticize our presence in Jerusalem, but history won’t change,” he said. “While the Jewish people celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah that symbolizes the eternal connection to Jerusalem, there are people who think that they can rewrite history. It’s time for all countries to recognize that Jerusalem always was and always will be the capital of the Jewish people and the capital of Israel.”
“Each country has the right to establish its own capital, but when it comes to Israel, there are people who think that they can cast doubt on our decision,” he continued. “We are grateful to the U.S. for its steadfastness in standing with the State of Israel, and the truth.”
This is the first time in more than six years that the United States has used its veto.
“We do it with no joy, but we do it with no reluctance,” Haley said. “The fact that this veto is being done in defense of U.S. sovereignty and role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment to us; it should be to the remainder of the Security Council.”
Haley said that Trump’s decision does not contradict existing Security Council resolutions and she emphasized that the administration supports the status quo of the city’s holy sites and a two-state solution if that is what the parties want.
“It is highly regrettable that some are trying to distort the president’s position to serve their own agendas,” Haley said.
The resolution was put forward by Egypt and emphasizes a special status for Jerusalem. Egyptian Ambassador Amr Aboulatta said the U.S. decision would have no legal effect on Jerusalem’s final status.
“Any attempt at changing the facts on the ground in Jerusalem is considered one of the illegal, unilateral measures that will have no legal impact whatsoever, since it comes in violation of international law,” Aboulatta said.