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Summaries of 18 articles from Daily Alert about UN vote to criticize US decision to move embassy to Jerusalem, with links

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Dec 22, 2017

UN Votes 128-9 to Criticize U.S. Decision on Jerusalem – Louis Nelson
The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution criticizing the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The nonbinding resolution was adopted with 128 nations in favor, 9 against, 35 abstained, and 21 countries did not vote.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, “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…. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What’s more, that nation is asked to pay for the privilege of being disrespected. In the case of the United States, we are asked to pay more than anyone else for that dubious privilege.”
“Unlike in some UN member countries, the United States government is answerable to its people. As such, we have an obligation to acknowledge when our political and financial capital is being poorly spent. We have an obligation to demand more for our investment. And if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways.”  (Politico)


    See also Text: Amb. Nikki Haley’s Speech Ahead of UN Vote
“To its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the State of Israel….It’s a wrong that undermines the credibility of this institution, and that in turn is harmful for the entire world.”
“Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it’s important to stand up for yourself. Israel must stand up for its own survival as a nation; but it also stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about.”  (U.S. Mission to the UN)

Haley Invites Countries that Didn’t Vote Against U.S. to Friendship Reception
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley sent an invitation Thursday to the 65 countries that didn’t vote against the U.S. in the UN General Assembly vote to denounce President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The invitation invites them to the Jan. 3 reception “to thank you for your friendship to the United States.”  (Fox News)

    See also U.S. Exploring Options after UN Vote – Max Greenwood
President Trump’s foreign policy team is exploring possible responses to a UN vote Thursday condemning the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday, “The president’s foreign policy team has been empowered to explore various options going forward.”  (The Hill)

Netanyahu: “Jerusalem Is Our Capital, Always Was, Always Will Be”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Thursday’s UN General Assembly vote: “Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital. Always was, always will be. But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refused to participate in this theater of the absurd. So I appreciate that, and especially I want to again express our thanks to President Trump and Ambassador Haley for their stalwart defense of Israel and their stalwart defense of the truth.”  (Prime Minister’s Office)

Why the UN Defeat Isn’t as Bad as It Looks – Raphael Ahren
On Thursday, the UN General Assembly voted to reject U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called on countries not to move their diplomatic missions to the city. Nine countries – the U.S., Israel, Togo, Guatemala, Honduras, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Marshall Islands – voted no. There were 35 abstentions and 21 countries absent.
The fact that a total of 65 nations did not actively vote against the U.S. was “hugely significant,” Israel Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon said. On Nov. 30, 2017, 151 countries voted in favor of a General Assembly resolution to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem that condemned Israel in much harsher terms. (Times of Israel)

    See also Analysis of the UN Vote on Jerusalem – Herb Keinon
Of the 28 EU countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Romania abstained and Lithuania did not show up. 15 African states abstained, Togo voted for Israel, and Kenya and Zambia did not show up. In Latin America, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay abstained. Among the Caribbean countries, once reflexively voting against Israel, Antigua-Barbuda, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad-Tobago abstained.
With the exception of Syria and Yemen, no other Arab countries took the podium to slam Israel, a role instead played by Turkey, Venezuela, Pakistan, Indonesia, Cuba, Iran, Malaysia and North Korea. (Jerusalem Post)

    See also Ron Prosor: Significant Number of States Stood with Truth, Morality, and Justice – Joshua Davidovich
Former Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor wrote in Israel Hayomon Friday: “There are those who might see the vote tally yesterday and conclude it was a loss for Israel and the U.S., but that would be a mistake. The automatic majority against Israel passes 22 resolutions a year by a wide margin and will continue to do so. The fight in the General Assembly isn’t over whether a resolution will pass or not. That’s a lost battle. The fight is over how much it will be by and on the quality of the side standing with truth, morality and justice, and yesterday, that side was significant.”  (Times of Israel)

    See also UN Vote on Jerusalem Highlighted Pockets of Support for Israel – Rory Jones
The voting pattern on the resolution admonishing the U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem highlighted pockets of diplomatic support for Israel. The result was less unanimously against Israel than the vote on many other UN resolutions on Israel. (Wall Street Journal)

Michael Oren: Israel Should Evict the UN from Its Jerusalem Headquarters – Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
Israel’s Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren called on Thursday for Israel to evict the UN from its Jerusalem headquarters, as the General Assembly voted to reject U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., said, “We must evict the UN from the scenic Government House [in Jerusalem], where its bloated staff does nothing, and give this historic site to a school, a hospital or, best yet, a new U.S. embassy.”

Bahrain Advises Against Clash with U.S. over Jerusalem – Ben Lynfield (Jerusalem Post)
Bahraini Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa tweeted on Wednesdaythat “it’s not helpful to pick a fight with the U.S. over side issues while we together fight the clear and present danger of the Theo-Fascist Islamic Republic [of Iran].”

UN Attacks America over Jerusalem – Editorial
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley stood tall at the podium before the Parliament of Man and rejected the UN General Assembly’s descent into the insanity of mob rule on a vote that absurdly labeled “null and void” the Trump administration’s correct decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and place the American embassy there. Not satisfied with the evil anti-Semitism of using Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, as the perennial whipping boy, the UN pack has turned on America.
The two-thirds of the body that supported this act encompassed countries that should know better, like Britain, France, Germany and Japan. High praise to Canada, Mexico, Australia and Argentina, among others, for refusing to go along. And also the Poles, Czechs, Romanians and Hungarians.
Haley told the delegates that the decisions of the U.S. are for the U.S. to judge, not the UN. They tried to hurt the U.S. and Israel – and will end up hurting the UN. (New York Daily News)

An American Paradigm Shift – Lior Weintraub
Unlike past votes on anti-Israel resolutions, this time the resolution had nothing to do with Israel’s actual conduct, but everything to do with its very existence and with the U.S. decision to implement the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which has received bipartisan consensus for more than two decades.
In 2011, when Israel was trying to derail the Palestinians’ statehood bid at the UN, I attended a high-level meeting between Israeli and American officials. When the Israelis asked the U.S. State Department to help torpedo the Palestinian effort, one American official responded: “The United Nations General Assembly gives the U.S. only one vote, just like all other states, and we have very limited clout.” The subtext was that the U.S. was unwilling to have Israel’s back in diplomatic forums.
But even though the Palestinians had eight years to advance the peace process with the friendliest administration they could imagine, the peace process remained at an impasse.
Today we are in a different era. It is clear that the Trump administration is going out of its way to signal that there is no daylight between Israel and the U.S. on the most sensitive issues, both military and political. The Americans are driving home the message that the world’s strongest superpower is offering unequivocal support for its allies. This will bolster Washington’s credibility in the international system. The writer, former chief of staff at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, is vice president and director of the Israel office of The Israel Project. (Israel Hayom)

The Palestinian Cause Has Lost Its Resonance
President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has also highlighted the decrepit state of the Palestinian national movement. Protests against the decision were relatively small – only a few thousand Palestinians turned out at their peak.
The Palestinians feel alone and despondent. Their cause has lost its resonance in a Middle East convulsed by civil wars and proxy battles between Iran, a Shia power, and Saudi Arabia, the region’s Sunni champion. In the West Bank, young people dream of leaving for a better life in the West or the Gulf states. On the streets of Gaza, where Hamas once enjoyed broad support, it is now common to hear criticism of the group, and even nostalgia for the days when Israel controlled the territory.
Mr. Abbas has little legitimacy to negotiate on behalf of his people, two-thirds of whom want him to resign. But Hamas has done no better. Hamas’ three wars with Israel have brought only misery to the territory, where half the population is unemployed. (Economist-UK)

Jerusalem: An Opportunity for Islamic Reformation? – Nonie Darwish
Under Sharia, Muslims have the right to take over land from non-Muslims, but the reverse is considered an attack on Islam. That is where the problem of Jerusalem stems from. It is time for Muslims to accept the facts about Jerusalem and right historical wrongs. With the announcement by President Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the Arab world has a great opportunity to prove that Islam is a religion of peace and co-existence as they claim. Will Arabs take this opportunity? Or will they continue their tradition to keep missing every opportunity to make peace with humanity?
Despite the cries that Islam is a religion of peace, the Islamic terror threat is everywhere; Muslims still teach hatred of Jews and Christians and they still preach jihad and killing the enemies of Allah. How can any sane person trust that Islam is moderate and is serious about wanting peace when the Muslim world is exploding with terror? Let Muslims start by ending the denial of the history of others, especially of Jews. The writer is an Egyptian-American human rights activist.(Gatestone Institute)

Is It Really about Jerusalem? – Bassam Tawil
The protests in the aftermath of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital provide further evidence that many Arabs and Muslims still have not come to terms with Israel’s right to exist. Trump’s announcement is just another excuse for them to vent their long-standing hatred for Israel and the U.S.
Last week, PA President Abbas spoke before the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey and claimed that the Jewish history of Jerusalem is false. He was simply reiterating official, long-standing PA policy. Where has the West been when Palestinian leaders have declared outright, decade after decade, that Israel has no right to exist and Jewish history is nothing more than lies?
Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are furious not because of any purported change in the status of Jerusalem. They know full well that Trump’s announcement will not change anything on the ground and is mostly symbolic. But the protesters were chanting: “Palestine is 100% Arab and both parts of Jerusalem, east and west, will be the eternal capital of Palestine!” They cannot stomach the fact that Israel exists, period. The conflict is not about an embassy or a settlement or a fence, but about the very presence of Jews in this part of the world. (Gatestone Institute)

Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital – Danielle Pletka (Newsday)
In foreign policy, conventional wisdom has an almost biblical force. The holy of holies is: Do not appear to prejudge the outcome of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. But Jerusalem actually is the capital of Israel. It is the seat of the Israeli prime minister, its parliament, its Supreme Court and its president. It is established practice for sovereign nations to choose their own capitals.
The Palestinians are cross. Hamas and others promptly declared Days of Rage to do what they do on most days that end in “y,” terrorize civilians and destroy property. Moving a building is not a pretext for violence, and all who accept the notion that terrorism has a justification are part of the problem.
Some suggest that behind the Trump administration’s thinking on Jerusalem is the notion that upending the status quo and going back to the table on the basis of reality could be a path forward. Maybe. Certainly, the status quo has resulted in little more than dazzling prosperity for Israel and growing misery for Palestinians.
Ultimately, it will not be the location of the U.S. embassy that will shape the fate of the region. Rather, it will be the birth of a partnership between the two sides in the belief that all will be better off at peace.

Danielle Pletka is senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
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