22nd December, 2017
Member States in the UN General Assembly by an overwhelming majority, on Thursday demanded that all countries comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem.
Through a resolution adopted by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to nine against, with 35 abstentions, the 193-member Assembly expressed “deep regret” over recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.
Resolutions in the Assembly are non-binding and do not carry the force of international law as do measures agreed in the Security Council.
U.S. President Donald Trump had on Dec. 6, directed the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of the city as the capital of Jerusalem, triggering protests across the Muslim world and drawing strong condemnation.
The General Assembly’s resolution stressed that the Holy City “is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant UN resolutions.”
The resolution demanded that “all States comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not recognise any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”
The General Assembly further affirmed 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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”
In that regard, the Assembly also called upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to Security Council resolution 478 adopted in 1980.
Reiterating its call for the reversal of the negative trends that endanger the two-State solution, the Assembly urged greater international and regional efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Thursday’s action in the Assembly followed a failed attempt by the Security Council on Monday to adopt similar text reflecting regret among the body’s members about “recent decisions regarding the status of Jerusalem,” with a veto from the U.S., a permanent member of the Council.
Subsequently, Yemen and Turkey, in their respective capacities as Chair of the Arab Group and the Chair of the Summit of the Organiaation of the Islamic Cooperation, requested the President of the General Assembly to “urgently resume’ the 10th emergency special session of the General Assembly in accordance with the so-named ‘Uniting for Peace’ procedure.
This procedure, under Assembly resolution 377 (1950), is a pathway around a Security Council veto.
By it, the Assembly can call an emergency special session to consider a matter “with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures.’’
This is if the Security Council fails to act or if there is lack of unanimity among the Council’s permanent members, China, France, Russia, UK, and the U.S.