News ID: 205844
Published: 0226 GMT December 09, 2017
Palestinian president to shun US VP

US isolated as 14 UNSC members rap action on Beit-ul-Moqaddas

US isolated as 14 UNSC members rap action on Beit-ul-Moqaddas

One by one, 14 members of the UN Security Council spoke out against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Beit-ul-Moqaddas as the capital of Israel at an emergency meeting on Friday, some with regret and some with anger at the 15th member, the United States.

It wasn't the first time that the US stood alone in defending its close ally, Israel, in the UN's most powerful body. Over decades, it has vetoed many council resolutions in favor of Israel, AP reported.

But this was a rare rebuke for an action the United States took that in the eyes of the rest of the council and most of the world clearly violates UN resolutions.

Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour who spoke after council members said the Trump administration's decision on recognition "undermines and essentially disqualifies its leadership role to seek peace in the region."

He said "one party cannot continue to monopolize the peace process," especially one that is biased in favor of "the occupying power," Israel.

Mansour urged the Security Council to denounce the "irresponsible" US decision and reaffirm its position on the status of Beit-ul-Moqaddas – that the holy city's status must be decided during peace negotiations. And it must "affirm its rejection of all violations of that status," he said.

In a joint statement, ambassadors from France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Britain disagreed with Trump's decision, saying "it is not in line with Security Council resolutions and is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region."

France's UN Ambassador Francois Delattre expressed regret at the US decision, citing legal grounds, its impact on efforts to reach a “two-state solution”, and the potential escalation of violence.

He said the United States must explain how Trump's action aligns with the legal foundation "on which all peace efforts are based."

Egypt's UN Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta called the US recognition "a dangerous precedent," saying "Beit-ul-Moqaddas is a city under occupation and it is not permissible legally to take any action."

The statement from the five ambassadors, echoing many speakers, called for calm "given the volatile situation on the ground."

Bolivia's UN Ambassador Sasha Llorenty Soliz said the U.S. leader's unilateral action affects the multicultural and multi-religious identity of Beit-ul-Moqaddas and "is extremely damaging – it's irresponsible because it further exacerbates the already unstable situation in the Middle East."

Trump said his defiant move marked the start of a "new approach" to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But many analysts question how a balanced agreement can be reached by granting such a major Israeli demand before negotiations have even started.


No meeting with Pence


An aide to the Palestinian president said on Saturday that Mahmoud Abbas will refuse to meet US Vice President Mike Pence later this month following Washington's controversial policy shift on Beit-ul-Moqaddas.

"There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine," Abbas's diplomatic adviser Majdi al-Khaldi told AFP.

"The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Beit-ul-Moqaddas decision," he added.

Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed two people before dawn, as unrest simmered over Trump's declaration of Beit-ul-Moqaddas as Israel's capital.


Four killed in Israeli attacks 


A total of four people have now been killed and dozens wounded since Trump announced the move.

There were fresh clashes on Saturday as Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank hurled stones at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds.

In the Gaza Strip, mourners vented their anger at the funerals of two people killed by Israeli troops during clashes at the border fence on Friday and the two Hamas members killed early on Saturday.

A woman was wounded by Israeli army fire during clashes at the border following one funeral attended by thousands in the Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis.


Call for Intifada


There have been fears of a much larger escalation of violence after Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad resistance group both renewed that call on Saturday.

Dozens of protesters were wounded by rubber bullets or live fire in clashes in the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Beit-ul-Moqaddas that followed the main weekly Muslim prayers on Friday.

Tens of thousands also protested in Muslim and Western countries, including Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia and the United States.

Saturday's predawn airstrike on a base of Hamas's military wing in Nusseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, was one of several. It followed three rocket attacks Friday night from Gaza into southern Israel, the Israeli military said.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said the two dead men were Hamas members of the movement.



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