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UN Jerusalem vote: Mahmoud Abbas hails result as 'victory for Palestine'

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Thursday 21 December 2017 18:52 GMT
The United Nations General Assembly votes 128-9 to declare the United States' Jerusalem capital recognition 'null and void'

Palestinian leadership is praising a United Nations vote that rejected America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The vote is a victory for Palestine,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “We will continue our efforts in the United Nations and at all international forums to put an end to this occupation and to establish our Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Donald Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital pleased Israeli elected officials but angered Palestinians, many of whom believe a Middle East peace deal must include their claim to sovereignty over part of Jerusalem.

The city contains sites sacred to both Judaism and Islam, and its status has been in dispute for the decades since Israel assumed control over the city during the Six Day War.

After Mr Trump formally announced the change, a prominent former Palestinian negotiator said the President had “destroyed” the possibility of a two-state solution.

“I think President Trump tonight disqualified the United States of America to play any role in any peace process,” Saeb Erekat told reporters.

Much of the world had a similar reaction, condemning a move that critics said would stymie the Middle East peace process and undercut America’s role as a neutral mediator.

That broad rebuke translated into a formal UN action, as the body voted overwhelmingly to declare “null and void” America’s decision.

The Trump administration has excoriated the United Nations, with the President threatening to withhold aid from countries that back the resolution.

Ambassador Nikki Haley said the US had been “disrespected” and “will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations”.

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