Tension in ME increased


In a new development in Middle East situation, the US has angrily blocked a UN Security Council resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The 14 other members of the council voted in favour of a motion proposed by Egypt that said any decisions over the status of Jerusalem be rescinded. The US’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, responded saying that what has been witnessed here today in the Security Council is an insult. It won’t be forgotten. It’s one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli Palestinian conflict.” Trump’s unilateral declaration, welcomed by Israel but condemned worldwide, actually inflamed the situation, which was already deteriorating after Israel’s 10-year blockade on Gaza and its taking of more land for illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The UN vote further isolates Washington. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned Trump and earlier refused to meet US Vice President Mike Pence who has been scheduled to visit the region but who has now postponed his trip. With the status of Jerusalem being at the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians the Jerusalem move has been met with unrest in Gaza and the West Bank, which has left nine people dead. One of the victims was 29-year-old Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a Gazan double amputee who lost both legs nine years ago in an Israeli airstrike. As he protested from his wheelchair near the Israeli border, he was shot in the head by a sniper. It called on “all states to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the holy city of Jerusalem,” under the terms of a 1980 Security Council resolution. Without naming any country, it expressed deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem. The resolution was sponsored by Egypt, and the other 14 members of the Security Council voted for it, including US allies Britain and France.
The Palestinian leadership is looking to strengthen national unity and internationalize the sponsors of the peace process following the US announcement on Jerusalem. With American mediators seen as losing their ability to act as honest brokers, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called a meeting late on Monday night in which 50 senior Palestinian leaders were invited to discuss future steps. It is now clear that Palestinian leaders will call for an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly after the US on Monday vetoed a Security Council resolution on the status of Jerusalem. The resolution followed this month’s decision by the US to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv. It stated 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.”
The veto cast by US Ambassador Nikki Haley highlighted Washington’s isolation over Trump’s announcement that the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively ignoring Palestinian claims on the city. Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that backed the measure asserting that any decisions on the status of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded. The US along with its allies can veto any resolution presented to the council, which requires nine votes for adoption. Breaking with international consensus, Trump announced on December 6 that he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, triggering protests and strong condemnation.