Palestinians turn to UN General Assembly over Jerusalem

Arab bloc, Turkey bring issue to General Assembly after Security Council fails to adopt resolution on Jerusalem status.

The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency meeting after the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution rejecting the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

The request for the General Assembly meeting was put forth by a bloc of Arab nations, Turkey and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which bills itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world”.

US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, reversing decades of US foreign policy and upsetting the Arab world and its Western allies.

The president of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajcak, said that the emergency session will be conducted as soon as possible, while the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, expected it to be held on Wednesday or Thursday.

Mansour said the request stipulated that the session be held in accordance with the principle of “Uniting for Peace”, in reference to General Assembly 1950 Resolution 377A.

According to the resolution, the General Assembly will take it upon itself to consider matters further if the Security Council fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Turkey, which has been highly vocal in criticising the US administration over its Jerusalem decision, is leading the push in the General Assembly.

“The resolution can be passed by getting at least two-thirds of the votes of the members of the UN General Assembly,” a Turkish foreign ministry source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Al Jazeera.

“We already have this number, but Turkey, as well as the other OIC members, are working hard to increase it,” one of the sources said. 

International law considers occupied East Jerusalem to be the capital for a future Palestine state, and does not recognise Israel’s annexation of the territory, which it captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

Speaking after the US’ Security Council veto, Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, said: “It is paradoxical that while we were waiting for a peace plan from the US, the administration instead decided to further obstruct peace and delay its realisation.

“The US decision encourages Israel to persist in its crimes against the Palestinian people and to continue its occupation of our territory. No rhetoric will hide this complacency in prolonging the occupation,” he added.

Source: Al Jazeera