Anatomy of the UNGA Resolution on the Jerusalem Saga

Anatomy of the UNGA Resolution on the Jerusalem Saga
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By Akeel Rashid

Days before taking office, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, referred to the United Nations, in derogatory and derisive a tone. He called the august body “a club for people to get together talk and have a good time”. Trump was reacting to the abstention of the Obama administration from voting in the Security Council to condemn Israeli illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In his follow-up tweet, with regard to Israeli settlements Trump warned, ‘As to the United Nations, things will be different after January 20th,’ in reference to the day he would assume the office of President of the United States.
Since the time Trump assumed office, nothing has really changed for the United States at the United Nations. Donald Trump has failed to establish his influence at the World’s august diplomatic stage; instead, the country has manifested the diminishing influence of United States in world politics. Donald Trump, who is already facing a great foreign policy challenge in the form of North Korean threats had to go through a second consecutive diplomatic defeat on Thursday at United Nations after 128 states voted in favor of adopting the resolution that opposed President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On Monday last, the United States faced a backlash in the Security Council after 14 members of United Nations powerful platform voted in favor of the Egyptian-drafted resolution concerning the status of Jerusalem. Although the United States exercised its veto to make the resolution ineffective but the response of other 14 members of Security Council to the resolution was seen as more effective in terms of diplomatic weight.
The draft resolution on Jerusalem got 128 votes in favor, nine against, 35 abstentions and 21 could not be registered as some delegations were absent. Even though the resolution is non-binding and won’t produce any results outside the walls of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), but all of those States who voted in favor have made their official position clear regarding Jerusalem thereby crippling Israel’s diplomatic outreach on the Jerusalem issue. Now, it remains to be seen as how Palestine and other Muslims States will utilize the diplomatic support drawn largely in their favor for the Jerusalem issue. The financial threats that Trump issued prior to the UNGA meet did not produce any results; on the contrary, the resolution was sponsored by those who happened to be the victims of this financial threat. This defiant act against United States by those states who receive funds from United States can be either attributed to attainment of self-sufficiency by these states or a shift of their reliance on other states.
Trump’s stance on Jerusalem in favor of Israel is not an exception as it has been argued by various International political scholars(like the eminent Professor Noam Chomsky)that a small ethnic Jewish lobby controls the Foreign Policy of the United States. Trump just lacked diplomatic experience in carrying out this important foreign policy matter related to the Israel which successive presidents from Bill Clinton to Obama had carried tactfully in the past. Trump’s extemporaneous political statements like that on the Jerusalem issue seemingly continue to harm the Foreign Policy interests of United States, but at the same time Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, UNESCO and its proposed withdrawal from NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement)suggest a gradual withdrawal of United States from world politics which corresponds to what scholars have termed as “American Isolationism”.

—The author is a student of international relations at IUST, Awantipora. He can be reached at: