The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a measure rejecting the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a stunning rebuke of a U.S. decision that allies and adversaries alike warned would undermine prospects for peace.

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Despite U.S. threats to cut aid to countries that backed the resolution and even funding for the United Nations itself, 128 countries voted in favor of the measure. Only nine countries — including the United States and Israel — voted against it. Another 35 abstained, and 21 were absent.
The vote in a rare emergency session was a public reproach of an administration that stands alone in the world in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a status other governments say should be left undecided until the final stage of talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

The nonbinding resolution on “illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of occupied Palestinian territory” declared actions that predetermine Jerusalem’s fate “null and voided.” Even countries that abstained offered explanations that distanced themselves from President Trump’s Dec. 6 decision.
The vote also underscored the apparent futility of the U.S. campaign to sway votes by threatening to cut funding, which some countries viewed as an effort to intimidate them into submission. Although Trump said Wednesday that he would be “watching” for countries that receive a lot of U.S. aid and voted “against us,” the list of co-sponsors grew at the last minute to include Egypt and Jordan, the only two countries besides Israel that receive more than $1 billion in U.S. aid annually.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, set the stage for a future showdown.
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out in this assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” she said. “We will remember it when, once again, we are called up to make the world’s largest contribution to the U.N., and we will remember it when many countries come calling on us to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”
Characterizing the United States as “disrespected,” Haley said the U.S. Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem regardless.

“No vote in the United Nations is going to make any difference on that,” she said. “But this vote will make a difference in how Americans look at the U.N. and how we look at countries that disrespect us at the U.N. And this vote will be remembered.”

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