Abbas Slams U.S. Veto of Jerusalem Resolution, Signs Applications to International Bodies

Palestinian president calls the veto a disgrace, says it is an endorsement of Israeli aggression and occupation

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 18, 2017
Abbas Momani / AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized on Monday the United States for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Abbas office said the American veto belittled the position of the international community and constituted support for the occupation and Israeli aggression.

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According to Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the veto violates previous Security Council resolutions and decisions by the international community; he called it a provocation that would lead to the isolation of the United States.

Abu Rudeineh added that the Palestinian leadership would continue to work with all UN institutions and international organizations to defend the rights of the Palestinian people.

Palestinian officials noted that the fact that the rest of the Security Council nations, including those considered friendly to the United States, supported the Egyptian resolution, proved the depth of international opposition to America’s position.

Also Monday, Abbas, at the start of a Palestinian leadership meeting in Ramallah, signed applications for 22 international organizations, and accused the United States of being totally biased in favor of Israel.

Abbas said the Palestinians would continue to take steps toward becoming full members in UN institutions and would do everything possible on the diplomatic and political front to fight Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem. He said the U.S. administration had lost its chance to broker any diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Abbas is traveling this week to Saudi Arabia and France to get their support for measures the Palestinians plan to take with regard to UN institutions, and to advance a proposal to get the UN and other powers to become sponsors of the peace process, rather than the United States.

There were continued calls Monday for rallies and demonstrations against Trump’s declaration and to renew the confrontations with the Israeli army at checkpoints and areas of the border fence.

On Monday, the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution seeking to reaffirm Jerusalem's status as unresolved. All 14 other members voted in favor of the resolution. This was the first time that the U.S. used its veto power during Trump's tenure as President.

Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said that "with this veto, the U.S. has missed an opportunity to rectify its illegal decision from December 6th." He further added that the U.S. "remains on the wrong side of history" and that the Palestinians "reiterate that [Trump's] decision has no legal effect on the status of Jerusalem."

Last week, Abbas said that the Palestinians will "go to the United Nations Security Council" over full UN membership, while speaking at a meeting of Islamic world leaders at a summit in Istanbul.

Abbas said it was unacceptable for the U.S. to have a role in the Middle East peace process because it was biased in favor of Israel. He added that the Palestinian Authority could withdraw its membership in international bodies over the decision.

"Trump gave Jerusalem to the Zionist movement as if it as an American city, but for the first time the entire world stood against him, even Britain, Canada and Australia," Abbas said.