- The UN General Assembly vote on a resolution calling for the final settlement of Jerusalem through negotiations may have been pitched as a contest between Israel and Palestine; however, it became a referendum on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise the city as Israel’s capital.
- The final outcome should force the U.S. to rethink its move, with 128 of the UNGA’s 193 member-countries voting for the resolution, and only nine against it. Among those voting for the resolution that “deeply regretted” the U.S. decision were its NATO allies, Germany, the U.K. and France, its Asian allies Japan and South Korea; its closest neighbours Canada and Mexico chose merely to abstain. The overwhelming majority ignored Mr. Trump and his UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s threats that all countries that defied America would be ‘named and shamed’ and face cancellation of U.S. aid. The suggestion was that the U.S. would exact its revenge by refusing to support these countries when they next need it at the UN. Israel showed deep derision for the world body, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to as a “house of lies”, while his UN envoy called the 128 countries “puppets forced to dance”. Such threats and epithets mark new lows in international diplomacy, and Israel and the U.S. come away looking like churlish bullies for issuing them. With all its weaknesses, the UN is a global collective, and it is imperative to acknowledge its mandate when such a large number of nations speak in one voice. The U.S. only recently asserted its intention to uphold the international rules-based order in its National Security Strategy document. It cannot now just walk away from both UN resolutions and its national commitment to the Israel-Palestine peace process by unilaterally changing its stand on the status of Jerusalem, without being accused of doublespeak.
- By voting for the resolution, India has affirmed its traditional policy in favour of a negotiated settlement for Jerusalem as part of a larger two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi avoided mentioning the contours of the settlement during his visit to Jerusalem in July this year, India’s support to the creation of a Palestinian state according to UN Resolution 181 (1948) was heavily underscored in his statement to the UN in November, just days before Mr. Trump’s decision. There had been some speculation that in the face of the U.S. threats over the resolution, as well as Mr. Netanyahu’s impending visit to India in January, India would dilute its support to those principles in favour of close strategic ties with both nations. In choosing to vote for the resolution at the UNGA, India has shown a clarity of purpose that also aligns with the broad global consensus.
Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.
Example: She kept her resolution not to see Anne any more
Synonyms: intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, plan, commitment
Negotiation: discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.
Example: A worldwide ban is currently under negotiation
Synonyms: discussion(s), talks, deliberations, conference, debate, dialogue
Recognise: acknowledge the existence, validity, or legality of.
Example: The defense is recognized in Mexican law
Synonyms: acknowledge, accept, admit, realize, be aware of, be conscious of
Regret: feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity.
Example: She immediately regretted her words
Synonyms: be sorry about, feel contrite about, feel remorse about/for, be remorseful about
Abstain: formally decline to vote either for or against a proposal or motion.
Example: Forty-one voted with the opposition, and some sixty more abstained
Synonyms: not vote, decline to vote
Overwhelm: very great in amount.
Example: He was elected president by an overwhelming majority
Synonyms: very large, enormous, immense, inordinate, massive, huge
Revenge: the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.
Example: Other spurned wives have taken public revenge on their husbands
Synonyms: vengeance, retribution, retaliation, reprisal, requital, recrimination
Epithets: an adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned.
Example: Old men are often unfairly awarded the epithet “dirty.”
Synonyms: sobriquet, nickname, byname, title, name, label, tag, description
Acknowledge: accept or admit the existence or truth of.
Example: The plight of the refugees was acknowledged by the authorities
Synonyms: admit, accept, grant, allow, concede, confess, own, recognize
Intention: a thing intended; an aim or plan.
Example: She was full of good intentions
Unilateral: performed by or affecting only one person, group, or country involved in a particular situation, without the agreement of another or the others.
Example: Unilateral nuclear disarmament
Synonyms: independent, autonomous, solitary, solo, go-it-alone, single-handed
Affirm: state as a fact.
Example: He affirmed the country’s commitment to peace
Synonyms: declare, state, assert, proclaim, pronounce, attest, swear, avow
Speculation: the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence.
Example: There has been widespread speculation that he plans to quit
Consensus: general agreement.
Example: A consensus of opinion among judges
Synonyms: agreement, harmony, concurrence, accord, unity, unanimity