United Nations General Assembly resolution ES-10/L.22

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UN General Assembly
Resolution ES‑10/L.22
United Nations General Assembly resolution A ES 10 L 22 vote.png

  Voted in favor
  Voted against
  Abstained
  Not present
Date 21 December 2017
Meeting no. 10th Emergency Special Session (continuation)
Code A/RES/ES‑10/L.22 (Document)
Subject Status of Jerusalem
Voting summary
128 voted for
9 voted against
35 abstained
21 absent
Result Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “null and void”

United Nations General Assembly resolution ES‑10/L.22 is a emergency session resolution declaring the status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “null and void.”.[1] It was adopted by the 37th Plenary meeting of the tenth emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly[2] during the tenure of the seventy-second session of the United Nations General Assembly on 21 December 2017. The draft resolution was drafted by Yemen and Turkey.[3]Though strongly contested by the United States, it passed by 128 votes to nine against with 21 absentees and 35 abstentions.

Background[edit]

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump said that he would recognise the status of Jerusalem as being Israel’s sovereign capital[4] in a departure from previous UNGA resolutions as well prevailing international norms where no state either recognises Jerusalem as a national capital nor has an embassy there. The move prompted protests from states and communities in many parts of the world.[5]

Following the failure of an United Nations Security Council resolution three days earlier, after an U.S. veto, to rescind the recognition by any states of Jerusalem as a national capital, Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour said that the General Assembly would vote on a draft resolution calling for Trump’s declaration to be withdrawn. He sought to invoke Resolution 377, known as the “Uniting for Peace” resolution, to circumvent a veto. The resolution states that the General Assembly can call an Emergency Special Session to consider a matter “with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures” if the Security Council fails to act.[6]

Campaign[edit]

On 20 December, US President Donald Trump threatened to cut US aid to countries voting against the US’ side.[7] The day before the vote, he said: “Let them vote against us…We don’t care…this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”[8]Ambassador Nikki Haley warned her country would remember and “take names” of every country that voted in favour of the resolution.[9][10][11][12] The governments of Turkey and Iran denounced USA’s threats as “anti-democratic” and “blackmail“.[13][14] She had sent to a letter to dozens of member states that warned Trump had asked her to “report back on those countries who voted against us.”[15] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Trump that “he cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with petty dollars” and “that opposition of other countries will teach the United States a good lesson”.[16][17]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel rejects this vote before it passes and called the UN “house of lies”.[18]

Canada’s, which was seeking re-negotiations of the NAFTA, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland‘s spokesman confirmed its intention to abstain from the vote and that the resolution should not have come to the General Assembly.[19]

Content[edit]

The text of the resolution includes the following key statements:[20]

The General Assembly,

  • Bearing in mind the specific status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and, in particular, the need for the protection and preservation of the unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions of the City, as foreseen in the relevant United Nations resolutions,
  • Stressing that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant United Nations resolutions,
  • Expressing in this regard its deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,
  • Affirms that any decisions 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 in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to resolution 478 (1980) of the Security Council;
  • Demands that all States comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions;
  • Reiterates its call for the reversal of the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-State solution and for the intensification and acceleration of international and regional efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.

It concluded in reading that “any decisions 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 in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”[21]

Motion[edit]

The motion was proposed by Yemen and Turkey.[22]

Debate[edit]

In introducing the resolution as Chair of the Arab Group, Yemen’s Amabassador said the US decision was a “blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, as well as those of all Christians and Muslims.” He emphasized that it constituted a “dangerous breach of the Charter of the United Nations and a serious threat to international peace and security, while also undermining the chances for a two‑State solution and fuelling the fires of violence and extremism.”[23]

Turkey, who was the co-sponsor of the draft resolution, also spoke as current Chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation(OIC).[23] Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Trump’s decision was an outrageous assault to all universal values. “The Palestinians have the right to their own state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is the main parameter and only hope for a just and lasting peace in the region. However, the recent decision of a UN Member State to recognise Jerusalem, or Al-Quds, as the capital of Israel, violates international law, including all relevant UN resolutions.”[22]

The General Assembly heard from Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al‑Malki, who said that the meeting was “not because of any animosity to the United States of America” but instead the sessions was “called to make the voice of the vast majority of the international community — and that of people around the world — heard on the question of Jerusalem/Al‑Quds Al‑Sharif.” He called the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move its embassy there “an aggressive and dangerous move” which could inflame tensions and lead to a religious war that “has no boundaries.” He added that though the decision would have no impact on the city’s status, it would nevertheless compromise the role of the United States in the Middle East peace process.[23] He urged member states to reject “blackmail and intimidation.”[5]

US Ambassador Nikki Haley then said that her country was “singled out for attack” because of its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. She added that: “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,” Haley said. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”[15] She added that: “America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that…this vote will make a difference in how Americans view the UN.”[22]

Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon then told the assembly that the vowed that “no General Assembly resolution will ever drive us from Jerusalem.”[4]

Venezuela’s Ambassador, speaking for the Non‑Aligned Movement (NAM), expressed “grave concern about Israel’s ongoing violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including attempts to alter the character, status and demographic composition of the City of Jerusalem. [It was] slso concerned about the decision to relocate the United States embassy [and] warned that such provocative actions would further heighten tensions, with potentially far‑reaching repercussions given the extremely volatile backdrop.[23]

Other speakers included, Pakistan, Indonesia, Maldives, Syria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Iran and China.[23]

Malaysia’s Ambassador Datuk Seri Mohammed Shahrul Ikram Yaakob said that, as a member of the OIC and NAM, “Malaysia joins the international community in expressing our deep concern and rejects the decision by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is also an infringement of the Palestinian people’s rights and their right to self determination.” He called for a peaceful two-state solution and that Malaysia is concerned the situation will only feed into the agenda of extremists.”[2]

Other speakers included, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and South Africa. The Permanent Observer for the Holy See, Tomasz Grysa, emphasised that Jerusalem was most sacred to the Abrahamic faiths and a symbol for millions of believers around the world who considered it their “spiritual capital.” Its significance went “beyond the question of borders, a reality that should be considered a priority in every negotiation for a political solution.” The Holy See, he said, called for a “peaceful resolution that would ensure respect for the sacred nature of Jerusalem and its universal value…reiterating that only international guarantee could preserve its unique character and status and provide assurance of dialogue and reconciliation for peace in the region.”[23]

After the motion was passed, more speeches continued with Estonia, who also spoke on behalf of other states. Australia’s Ambassador then explained her country’s government did “not support unilateral action that undermined the peace process [and] it did not believe today’s text would help to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.”[23]

Other speakers included, Paraguay, whose Ambassador said that the country would abstain because “the question of Jerusalem was a matter for the Security Council, as the primary body responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.”[23] This was followed by El Salvador, Argentina and Romania.[23]

Canada’s Ambassador Marc-Andre Blanchard called the proposal “one-sided”[23] and said: “We are disappointed that this resolution is one sided and does not advance prospects for peace to which we aspire, which is why we have abstained on today’s vote.” He, however, added that Canada wanted to emphasise Jerusalem’s special significance to the Abrahamic religions of Jews, Muslims and Christians. “Denying the connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths undermines the integrity of the site for all. We also reiterate the need to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s Holy sites.[19]

Nicaragua’s explained its support of the resolution, as it “rebuffed recent unilateral attempts to modify the character and status of Jerusalem. Such unilateral actions were in blatant violation of resolution 2234 (2016) and others…unilateral actions jeopardised peace and stability in the Middle East and drew the international community further away from a solution.”[23]

Mexico’s Ambassador then explained the abstention and emphasised that convening an emergency session was a disproportionate response. “The United States must become part of the solution, not a stumbling block that would hamper progress…the international community was further than ever from agreement.”[23]

The Czech Republic then said that while it supported the European Union position, it had abstained because it “did not believe the draft resolution would contribute to the peace process.”[23]

Armenia said that is position “remained unchanged. The situation should be resolved through negotiations paving the way for lasting peace and security.”[23]

Hungary echoed Armenia’s stance and said it would not comment on the foreign relations of the United States.[23]

Latvia then spoke, before Estonia re-took the floor to say it had also spoken on behalf of Albania, Lithuania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.[23]

Result[edit]

Vote[24] Quantity States
Approve 128 Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Reject 9 Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, United States.
Abstain 35 Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Haiti, Hungary, Jamaica, Kiribati, Latvia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu.
Absent 21 Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, El Salvador, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mongolia, Myanmar, Moldova, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Zambia.

Reactions[edit]

States

Israel – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the result shortly after it was announced in call it “preposterous,” while he also thanked the states that supported “the truth” by not participating in “the theatre of the absurd.” He added that: “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 theatre of the absurd. So I appreciate that, and especially I want to again express our thanks to [US] President (Donald) Trump and Ambassador [Nikki] Haley, for their stalwart defence of Israel and their stalwart defence of the truth.” Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman, reminded Israelis of the longstanding Israeli disdain for such votes. “Let us just remember that this is the same UN about which our first ambassador to the organisation, Abba Eban, once said: ‘If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions’. There is nothing new in what just happened at the UN.” He also praised the US as “the moral beacon shining out of the darkness.” Minister of Strategic Affairs and Public Security Gilad Erdan said: “The historic connection between Israel and Jerusalem is stronger than any vote by the ‘United Nations’ — nations who are united only by their fear and their refusal to recognise the simple truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the Jewish people.”

    • However, opposition Joint List Chairman and MK Ayman Odeh called the vote a wake-up call for Israel: “In the international arena, there still exists a large and definitive majority that believes that the Palestinian people, like all other nations, deserve a place in this world and the right to self-determination. This evening’s vote by the majority of the world’s nations against Trump’s announcement, in spite of the pressure and threats, flies in the face of Trump’s and Netanyahu’s diplomatic policy and is a clear statement by the international community in support of peace and the right of the Palestinians to an independent state, whose capital is East Jerusalem,”[8]
Media

Haaretz‘s Noa Landau, wrote, in citing unnamed diplomatic sourced, that Israel was particularly disappointed with countries like India that have enhanced bilateral relations with it recently. “The main disappointment in Israel was with the countries that have enhanced bilateral relations in recent years, especially those that share a particularly conservative worldview with the Netanyahu government. For example, India – whose Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, visited Israel in July, a tour that was memorable mainly for the pastoral photographs of him and Netanyahu embracing and wading in the waves – voted for the resolution against Israel and the United States.”[8]

Others

At a “Solidarity to Save Jerusalem” rally organised by the Barisan National government in Malaysia, one of the attendees Association of NextGen Christians of Malaysia President Joshua Hong said at the Putra Mosque: “We are here because we feel that the decision made by President Trump on announcing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is merely a political decision. He added that the decision also hurts Christian and Arabic churches in Palestine and not just the Muslims. “To us as Christians, Jerusalem is a city of peace and after that announcement, we feel there is no more peace.I think it is not right and unjust. We believe we should continue pursuing the sustainable peace solution for Palestine and Israel, rather than just a single nation declaring it just like that.” He claimed that about 50 members of the group turned up in a show of support for the Palestinian people..[2]

Falling Ebola cases show ‘turning point’

There has been a “turning point” in the Ebola crisis, with cases falling in the three affected countries, World Health Organization officials say.

Just eight cases were detected in Liberia in the last week down from a peak of 500-a-week in September. Guinea and Sierra Leone have also seen falls.

The WHO said the figures were the “most promising” since the outbreak started.

But it continues to urge caution, and to highlight the need to find those who had contact with Ebola patients.

The largest outbreak of Ebola in human history has infected 21,724 people and killed 8,641 – largely in just three countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

All are now showing falls in weekly cases:

  • Cases in Liberia stand at eight-per-week down from a peak of 509
  • Cases in Guinea stand at 20 per week down from a peak of 292
  • Cases in Sierra Leone stand at 117-per-week down from a peak of 748

There are now some days in Liberia where no cases are reported at all.

Dr Christopher Dye, the director of strategy in the office of the director general, told the BBC News website: “The incidence is pretty clearly going down in all three countries now.

“Each of the last three weeks has been the most promising we’ve seen so far, the message is reductions in all places.

“I would have identified the turning point as the beginning of the decline, first in Liberia and then later in Sierra Leone and Guinea.”

 

Resurgence

However, he argued there was “no basis for complacency” due to the risk of a resurgence in cases.

It is also uncertain whether the downward trends will continue unless there are improvements in “contact tracing”.

A single case is enough to start an entire outbreak so identifying everyone who comes into contact with Ebola is vital.

Yet the latest WHO situation report says the number of people being traced “remains lower than expected in many districts”.

Dr Dye added: “Contact tracing to find every last case needs to be intensified and we need all guns blazing on all fronts.”

Western Sierra Leone remains another problem.

Of the 145 cases reported across all affected countries last week, more than 100 were in that region, which includes the capital Freetown.

Speaking earlier this week, the UN system co-ordinator for Ebola, David Nabarro, said: “We have a very attractive and promising situation that leads us to believe that perhaps we are beginning to see the end of the outbreak.

Ebola: Mapping the outbreak

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014, and has rapidly become the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976.

In fact, the current epidemic sweeping across the region has now killed more than all other known Ebola outbreaks combined.

Up to 15 December, 6,856 people had been reported as having died from the disease in six countries; Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the US and Mali.

The total number of reported cases is more than 18,000.

The World Health Organization (WHO) admits the figures are underestimates, given the difficulty collecting the data. WHO officials this week discovered scores of bodies in a remote diamond-mining area of Sierra Leone , raising fears that the scale of the Ebola outbreak may have been underreported.

Ebola deaths

Up to 13 December

6,856

Deaths – probable, confirmed and suspected

(Includes one in the US and six in Mali)

  • 3,290 Liberia
  • 2,033 Sierra Leone
  • 1,518 Guinea
  • 8 Nigeria

The WHO has declared the outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal officially over, as there have been no new cases reported since 5 September.

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How the virus spread: Ebola death toll

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Researchers from the New England Journal of Medicine have traced the outbreak to a two-year-old toddler, who died in December 2013 in Meliandou, a small village in south-eastern Guinea.

In March, hospital staff alerted Guinea’s Ministry of Health and then MSF. They reported a mysterious disease in the south-eastern regions of Gueckedou, Macenta, Nzerekore, and Kissidougou.

It caused fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. It also had a high death rate. Of the first 86 cases, 59 people died.

The WHO later confirmed the disease as Ebola.

Disease spreadsThe Gueckedou prefecture in Guinea, where the outbreak started, is a major regional trading centre and, by the end of March, Ebola had crossed the border into Liberia. It was confirmed in Sierra Leone in May.

In June, MSF described the Ebola outbreak as out of control.

Nigeria had its first case of the disease in July and, in the same month, two leading doctors died from Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In August, the United Nations health agency declared an “international public health emergency”, saying that a co-ordinated response was essential to halt the spread of the virus.

Senegal reported its first case of Ebola on 29 August. A young man from Guinea had travelled to Senegal despite having been infected with the virus, officials said.

By September, WHO director general Margaret Chan said the number of patients was “moving far faster than the capacity to manage them”.

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, Thomas Frieden, said in October that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was unlike anything since the emergence of HIV/Aids.

Authorities in Mali confirmed the death of the country’s first Ebola patient, a two-year-old girl, on 25 October. The girl had travelled hundreds of kilometres by bus from Guinea through Mali showing symptoms of the disease, the WHO said.

Mali is currently battling a second wave of the deadly virus.

An infected Islamic preacher from Guinea, who was initially diagnosed with a kidney problem, was treated at a clinic in Bamako. The preacher died a few days after entering the country.

Two health workers who cared for the preacher also died after contracting the virus. In total, Mali has recorded six deaths from Ebola.

Ebola outside West Africa

Ebola outside West Africa

*In all but three cases the patient was infected with Ebola while in West Africa. Infection outside Africa has been restricted to health workers in Madrid and in Dallas. DR Congo has also reported a separate outbreak of an unrelated strain of Ebola.

The first case of the deadly virus diagnosed on US soil was announced on 1 October. Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, who contracted the virus in Liberia before travelling to the US, died on 8 October.

He had not displayed symptoms of the disease until 24 September, five days after his arrival. Other people with whom he came into contact are being monitored for symptoms.

Two medical workers in Dallas, Texas, who treated Duncan tested positive for Ebola since his death but have both recovered.

Spanish nurse Teresa Romero was the first person to contract the virus outside West Africa. She was part of a team of about 30 staff at the Carlos II hospital in Madrid looking after two missionaries who returned from Liberia and Sierra Leone after becoming infected.

Germany, Norway, France, Italy, Switzerland and the UK have all treated patients who contracted the virus in West Africa.

Ebola weekly cases chart for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

Are cases levelling off?Efforts to tackle Ebola have been hindered by fierce resistance from local communities with a history of suspicion towards outside intervention.

This has enabled new chains of transmission to pop up.

Over the last few weeks, health officials admit that the disease is now entering a new phase, with a marked slowing down in the some of the affected areas in the three countries, especially Guinea and Liberia.

According to the WHO, transmission remains intense in Sierra Leone, especially in the country’s west and north

2014 outbreak in contextEbola was first identified in 1976 and occurs in regions of sub-Saharan Africa. There are normally fewer than 500 cases reported each year, and no cases were reported at all between 1979 and 1994.

In August 2014 the WHO confirmed a separate outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. By the beginning of October there had been 70 cases reported and 43 deaths.

However, the outbreak in DR Congo is a different strain of the virus and unrelated to the epidemic in West Africa, which now dwarfs all previous outbreaks.

Past epidemics

Ebola past outbreaks

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