By Michelle Nichols
UNITEDNATIONS (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday said it was “singled out for attack” at the United Nations because it now recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and again threatened to cut off aid to countries that try to vote against that decision at the U.N. General Assembly.
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to cut off financial aid to nations that vote in favour of a General Assembly resolution calling on Washington to withdraw its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said at the General Assembly ahead of Thursday’s vote.
“We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” she told the 193-member General Assembly ahead of the vote.
The vote was called at the request of Arab and Muslim countries. The United States, backing its ally Israel, vetoed the resolution on Monday in the 15-member U.N. Security Council.
The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favour of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which did not specifically mention the United States or Trump but which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
Earlier this month, Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy by announcing the United States recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.
The status of Jerusalem, which holds Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites, is one of the thorniest obstacles to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who were furious over Trump’s move. The international community does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the full city.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told the United States on Thursday it could not buy Turkey’s support in the vote.
“Mr. Trump, you cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with your dollars,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
“I hope and expect the United States won’t get the result it expects from there (the United Nations) and the world will give a very good lesson to the United States,” Erdogan said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the United Nations as a “house of lies” ahead of the vote.
“The State of Israel totally rejects this vote, even before (the resolution’s) approval,” Netanyahu said in a speech in the port city of Ashdod.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem and Ezgi Erkoyun in Istanbul; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Alistair Bell)