NEW YORK – The US has vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The text put forward by Egypt affirmed that any decisions on the status of Jerusalem had “no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded “.
The 14 other members of the council voted in favour of the motion.
The US permanent representative, Nikki Haley, described it as an “insult” and warned that it would not be forgotten.
“It’s one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli Palestinian conflict,” she added.
“Today, for the simple act of deciding where to put our embassy, the United States was forced to defend its sovereignty. The record will reflect that we did so proudly.”
Separately US Vice-President Mike Pence postponed a controversial scheduled visit to the Middle East, due to begin on Tuesday, until mid-January.
Mr Pence may be required to break a tie in the US Senate in a crucial vote on tax reform.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to meet the vice-president following the Jerusalem decision.
The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
Israel occupied the east of the city, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.
The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries currently maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. However, President Trump has told the US state department to start work on moving the US embassy.
The draft resolution avoided any specific mention of the US or Mr Trump in order to gain maximum support, says the BBC’s Nada Tawfik in New York.
It instead urged “all states to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the holy city of Jerusalem”.
It also demanded 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.”
A veto by Washington was inevitable, our correspondent adds, But the four other permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia and the UK – and 10 non-permanent members voted in favour.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Ms Haley on Twitter for using the veto.
But a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the move “unacceptable and threatens the stability of the international community because it disrespects it”.
“The international community must work now to protect the Palestinian people,” Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP news agency.
The Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said he would call an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly.
Before the vote, the UN Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, warned that the security situation had become more tense in the wake of President Trump’s decision.
There had been an increase in incidents, he said, with rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces. -BBC