The face-off between U.S. President Donald Trump and the United Nations is heating up, with Trump threatening to cut off aid from nations that vote against his decision to officially designate Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
“For all these nations, they take our money and then vote against us,” he said in a meeting with cabinet members on Wednesday. “They take hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions of dollars and then they vote against us.”
Trump continued, “We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 21, 2017
The president’s comments — which are being perceived as blackmail by some — come as the U.N. prepares to vote in an emergency General Assembly meeting on Thursday, where it is anticipated that up to 150 of the 193 countries in the international body could vote against the American president’s proclamation.
The draft resolution in question reportedly hits back at Trump’s stance on Jerusalem by affirming 10 security council resolutions that date back decades and, according to The Guardian, “demands that all states comply with security council resolutions regarding the holy city of Jerusalem, and not to recognise any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”
Trump and the U.S. are reportedly not mentioned by name. The U.S. has stepped up pressure on member countries in recent days, with U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley warning countries not to vote against America on the matter.
The emergency General Assembly meeting to be held on Thursday is a rarity and was requested by Palestinians as well as Arab countries that are uncomfortable with Trump’s Jerusalem stance.
The session also follows a dramatic debate on Monday that unfolded after the U.N. Security Council attempted to hit back at Trump’s Jerusalem designation; the U.S. immediately exercised its veto power.
As Faithwire previously reported, the resolution would have essentially nullified Trump’s Jerusalem move. The U.S. has veto power alongside France, Russia, China and Britain and was widely expected to use it.
Haley also subsequently unleashed on her fellow council members.
“What we witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten,” Haley said after 14 of the council’s 15 nation’s voted to endorse a resolution that called on Trump to roll back the capital designation.
And she wasn’t done there. Haley also made some proclamations about the importance of “American sovereignty” and the embarrassment she believes the council should feel for taking its stand, Reuters reported.
“The fact that this veto is being done in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us,” she said. “It should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council.”
During a speech before the U.N. Security Council, she also chastised the international body for a scenario in which she said it “consistently singles out Israel for condemnation”:
Arab countries weren’t dissuaded, though, and called for the U.N. General Assembly to take up the matter. Now, the U.S. is refusing to back down and continues to put pressure on member countries, with Trump’s comments adding to that dynamic.
Trump and Haley are joined by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also hit back at the emergency vote slated to be held on Thursday.
“The state of Israel rejects this vote outright. Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build there and additional embassies will move to Jerusalem,” he said. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, whether or not the UN recognises this. It took 70 years for the United States to formally recognise this, and it will take years for the UN to do the same.”
We’ll have to wait and see what happens next. If you’re looking for a deeper history on why Jerusalem is such a point of contention, go here.