UNITED NATIONS —
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has warned other United Nations envoys that she will be ‘taking names’ when the U.N. General Assembly holds a rare emergency session on Thursday to consider a resolution rejecting U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“The President will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us,” the letter, seen by VOA, says. “We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.”
In a reversal of long-standing U.S. policy, President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that Washington would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and begin preparations to build a new embassy there.
That announcement was met with a move in the U.N. Security Council on Monday to adopt a resolution noting its “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
While not specifically mentioning the U.S. decision, the text also said, “any decision and actions which purport to have altered the character, status, or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded."
Fourteen of the council’s 15 members voted in favor of the draft resolution, but the United States used its veto power to block its adoption.
“The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy,” Ambassador Haley told council members after the vote.
Haley followed up with Tuesday’s letter with a tweet:
“At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”
In Washington Wednesday, President Trump praised Haley for sending a message at the U.N. to “all of these nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council, or they vote against us potentially at the assembly.”
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House.
At the U.N., several diplomats said they had received Haley's letter, but did not plan to change their stance.
“Our position on this case has been very clear, we have had the opportunity to express ourselves in the Security Council, so that is our very strongly principled position,” said Sweden’s U.N. ambassador Olof Skoog. “For us this is not at all about our bilateral relations with the United States, which is very good.”
Thursday’s emergency General Assembly session was requested by Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour, with the backing of Arab and non-aligned countries.
Mansour told reporters on Monday he hopes there will be "overwhelming support" in the General Assembly for the measure rejecting U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He said the Palestinians would continue applying pressure to urge the Trump administration to reverse its position.
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, but still carry moral weight, demonstrating the majority opinion of the international community.
Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its eternal capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and say the United States is no longer a reliable partner in the peace process.
The Trump administration says it is committed to a two-state solution in the Middle East if that is what the parties want, and that the physical location of its embassy should have no bearing on the talks.