The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said in Washington on Friday that if President-elect Donald Trump moves the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem the Palestinians would “make life miserable” for the United States at the United Nations.
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“If people attack us by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which is a violation of Security Council resolutions, it is a violation of resolution 181 of the UN general assembly that was drafted by the U.S. it means they are showing belligerency towards us If they do that nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves and we have a lot of weapons in the UN,” Mansour said.
Mansour said that the Palestinian response to a move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could not be a Security Council resolution because the United States would veto it. “Maybe I can't have resolutions in the Security Council but I can make their lives miserable everyday with precipitating a veto on my admission as a member state. Italy in 1949 received 3 consecutive vetoes on its admission to the UN from the Soviet Union. These are the kind of things that I can do.”
Mansour said he could “reopen the whole Pandora’s Box” of verdicts in the International Criminal Court of Justice on the matter of the separation barrier or the settlements.
“It is illegal to defy Security Council resolutions that the U.S. is party to it that the unilateral action by Israel annexing East Jerusalem is illegal and it is null and void. If the U.S. administration wants to defy international law they are doing something illegal. I hope they will do nothing. Many candidates gave the same election promise but didn’t implement it because what you do when you are campaigning is one thing but when you have to deal with the legal thing it is something else,” Mansour said.
During the presidential election campaign Trump and some of his advisers said that if he became president, his administration would recognize united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and implement the U.S. Congress’ decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Trump told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the same thing when they two met in New York in September. Trump’s adviser on Israel, Jason Greenblatt, reiterated that position in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday.
However, at the end of the week it seemed that the Trump camp was backpedaling on the issue. Trump’s foreign policy adviser Walid Phares refrained from repeating the pledge during an interview with the BBC and said that Trump had meant that the U.S. Embassy would move to Jerusalem if “consensus” was achieved on the idea.
Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said during the daily press briefing that no U.S. administration, whether Democratic or Republican, had ever recognized sovereignty of any country over Jerusalem and that since 1995 both Republican and Democratic presidents had vetoed the move of the embassy to Jerusalem. Toner added that the Obama administration would make this clear to the new administration during the transition period.