UNITED NATIONS (BP) — In a move characterized by media outlets as a denunciation of the Trump administration, the United Nations General Assembly voted Thursday (Dec. 21) to ask nations not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.
By a 128-9 vote with 35 abstentions and 21 U.N. member nations absent, the General Assembly’s resolution “Status of Jerusalem” expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem” — an apparent reference to President Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there.
Paige Patterson, a longtime Israel supporter among Southern Baptists, told Baptist Press in written comments the U.N. “has no authority in the matter and little moral high ground.”
“A sovereign nation has every right to declare a city in its boundaries as its capital,” said Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Israel is no exception. President Trump has kept his campaign promise and recognized that right.
“What does sicken the stomach is the continued hatred of the Jewish people that sometimes occurs even among evangelicals. Nothing could be more certain in God’s Word than that He loves every human of every nation and died for them on the cross. The Jew who lives in Israel is no more an exception to that than an American who lives in Washington or an Arab who lives in Cairo,” Patterson said.
Drafted by Yemen and Turkey, the nonbinding U.N. resolution did not name the U.S. specifically but called “upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem,” according to a copy of the resolution published by The Times of Israel.
Yemen’s U.N. representative referenced the U.S. by name when he introduced the resolution in an emergency session of the General Assembly, called at Yemen and Turkey’s request. During discussion of the measure, several nations criticized America’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to a U.N. news release.
U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley declared the General Assembly’s vote “null and void,” echoing language from the resolution that declared “null and void” actions “which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of Jerusalem.”
Haley said “the United States will remember this day, in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very right of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” The New York Times reported.
Haley and Trump both have suggested the U.S. might reduce its funding of the U.N. and nations who supported the resolution.
The nine nations to vote no on the resolution were Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo and the U.S.
A similar resolution received 14 affirmative votes Dec. 18 in the 15-member U.N. Security Council but was vetoed by the U.S.
Israel long has claimed Jerusalem as its capital, with modern Israeli governments varying in their willingness to let Palestinians control portions of the city. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as their capital.
Despite Trump’s Dec. 6 statement that he was not taking a position on “the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem,” Palestinians have held daily protests against his action ever since, according to media reports. Israeli troops fatally shot two Palestinians in the Gaza strip today (Dec. 22), Reuters reported.