FILE: U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Nikki Haley meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem, June 7, 2017 – U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv / Flickr
CAIRO – 22 December 2017: U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off financial aid did not stop Egypt from defending the right of Palestinians to have Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital.
On December 16, Egypt proposed a draft resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The United Nations Security Council was set to vote on the resolution on Monday.
Expectedly, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley vetoed Egypt’s resolution, as the United States is one of the five permanent UNSC Member States possessing the veto right.
The resolution was backed by all 14 other Security Council members in the vote. Haley described the 14-1 vote "an insult" and warned "it won't be forgotten."
The 193-member U.N. General Assembly agreed to hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday, at the request of Arab and Muslim countries, to vote on the draft. Haley tweeted Wednesday: "On Thursday, there will be a vote criticizing our choice. The U.S. will be taking names."
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of the draft resolution.
"They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we're watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care," Trump told reporters at the White House.
Trying to manipulate UN members’ decisions, Haley said in a speech on the floor of the UNGA on Thursday before the vote: “America will put our embassy in Jerusalem.” She added, “No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries (that) disrespect us in the U.N. and this vote will be remembered.”
Despite pressure exerted and apparent threats made by Trump and Haley, 128 countries voted in favor of the resolution, while nine voted against and 35 abstained.
Arab media figures and analysts have hailed the persistence of Egypt to defend Palestinians’ rights, despite Egypt’s strong relations with the U.S., including being one of the top recipients of the annual U.S. aid package.
FILE: Political Analyst Mohamed Rachid – Twitter account
Former economic adviser to late President Yasser Arafat Mohamed Rachid wrote on Twitter: “Egypt gathered the whole world for the sake of Jerusalem and the holy sites, for Palestine and the Palestinians, with smart diplomacy and precise formulation of the draft resolution.”
Saudi media professional Mansour al-Khamis said on Thursday that Egypt is the country which should be thanked. It “sacrificed” its relations with the U.S., confronted the U.S. threats, and cooperated with Muslim and Arab countries, defending Jerusalem as an Arab city.
Palestinian Jordanian anchorman Jamal Rayan lauded Egypt’s efforts on Twitter; he wrote: “Jerusalem is not for sale; this is what Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian authority said, despite U.S. aid received and peace agreements signed with Israel.”
القدس ليست للبيع ، هذا ما قالته #مصر و #الأردن و #السلطة_الفلسطينية التي تتلقى مساعدات أمريكية وموقعة على اتفاقيات سلام مع اسرائيل، قالتها صراحة القدس خط احمر وان لديها أوراق قوة قادة على تغيير قواعد اللعبة ما سيجعل اسرائيل تحسب حسابها الف مرة مستقبلا #القدس
Saudi writer Monther al-Sheikh Mubarak said on Thursday that Egypt fought four wars for Palestine, and now it sacrifices billions of dollars for it. “Egypt truly confronted Trump’s decision,” Mubarak added.
Iranian journalist Sadegh Ghorbani tweeted on Thursday, “A year in his office, Trump eventually could create a "united front": Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, EU, Russia, China, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia.”
Al-Azhar said in a statement that the UNGA vote expresses the rejection of the international community regarding the “unjust” decision over Jerusalem and the necessity to reverse it, as it violates international law and human rights.
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris praised the country on Thursday on Twitter for its “fast and positive” reaction over Trump’s unilateral decision to alter the status of Jerusalem.
Earlier this month, Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy by announcing the United States recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the move of its embassy to Jerusalem.