Palestinians Praise World for Not Folding to U.S. and Israeli 'Pressure', Say Next Stage Is Independent State

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Members of the Palestinian delegation leave the General Assembly hall after a vote in which the United States declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was declared 'null and void' on December 21, 2017
Members of the Palestinian delegation leave the General Assembly hall after a vote in which the United States declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was declared 'null and void' on December 21, Credit: SPENCER PLATT/Bloomberg

Palestinians called on U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday night to accept the UN General Assembly's vote that overwhelmingly rejected the American president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thanked the 128 countries that voted in favor of the resolution, "despite all the pressure exerted on them," making a nod to diplomatic efforts by Israel as well as direct threats by Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Niki Haley.

UN General Assembly rejects Trump's recognition of Jerusalem in vote on December 21, 2017 Credit: Haaretz

Abu Rdeneh said in a statement to the Palestinian news agency Wafa that the vote reflects the support the Palestinians enjoy in the international community. He said the Palestinians will continue their efforts in international forums to help create a Palestinian state.

The  UN General Assembly voted 128-9 with 35 abstentions in favor of the resolution, a smaller margin than the Palestinians hoped for, likely reflecting U.S. threats to cut funding for those who voted "yes."

Top Palestinian diplomat and peace negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the decision made at the General Assembly was "very important" because "the world is saying that President Trump's declaration in the eyes of the international community is a void and unjust decision."

"We as Palestinians have started to act," Erekat added, "and at our helm is President [Abbas] who is acting with Arab leaders and world leaders in order to initiate an international committee for peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders."

"It is time the countries of the world recognize Palestine at the 1967 borders," Erekat urged.

A Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum called the UN resolution "a step in the right direction" and "a blow to (President Donald) Trump's announcement." He said the resolution emphasizes "the Palestinian right to the holy city."

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, seeks a state in all of historic Palestine, including what is now Israel

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also spoke out, saying he expected the Trump administration to rescind without further delay its "unfortunate decision" following the vote.

In comments on Twitter, Erdogan said he welcomed the "overwhelming support" for the resolution.

Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif, tweeted Thursday that the UN vote was a resounding global 'no' to the Trump regime's "thuggish intimidation."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution.

"Jerusalem is our capital, always was and always will be. But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refuse to participate in this theater of the absurd," Netanyahu charged in a live Facebook video.

Israeli officials noted that some of those countries are those Netnayahu had visited. Israel also thanked Trump for his unequivocal stance on Jerusalem. Israel also thanked those who voted together with Israel and "for truth."

In should be noted, that among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution are India, Russia and China, all countries Netanyahu has touted as allies recently.

Netanyahu went on to add: "So I appreciate that and especially I want to again express our thanks to President Trump and Ambassador Haley for their stalwart defense of Israel and their stalwart defense of the truth."

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