'We Won't Forget It': Trump Thanks Countries Who Supported Jerusalem Declaration at UN

In address to countries who abstained or voted against UN resolution condemning U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Trump said he remains committed to achieving a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement

President Donald Trump talks to media during a Christmas Eve video call with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla, Dec 24, 2017.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

U.S. President Donald Trump sent a recorded video message on Wednesday to an event held by the American embassy at the United Nations, honoring the countries that abstained or voted against a resolution condemning the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In his message, Trump thanked the representatives of those countries for the way they voted, and assured them that his administration "will not forget it." Trump added that the United States remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. 

To really understand the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

The event on Wednesday was organized by American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who claimed before the vote last month that the United States was closely following how countries would vote, and would be "writing down names."

The vote passed the UN General Assembly by a comfortable margin - 128 countries voted in favor of it - but Israel and the United States found comfort in the fact that more than 50 countries either skipped the vote or abstained. Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dani Danon, praised Haley for how she handled the vote and for organizing Wednesday's event. 

On Tuesday, Haley stated that the United States was looking at cutting its aid budget to the Palestinians. In reply to a question about American funding for UNRWA, the UN agency in charge of aiding Palestinian refugees and their descendants in the Middle East, Haley said that the Trump administration wants to cut that funding until the Palestinian Authority returns to peace talks with Israel under American mediation. The Palestinian leadership, however, is blaming the Trump administration of being heavily biased towards the Israeli government's positions, and has asked other countries such as Russia and European countries to assume responsibility over the peace process. 

A senior White House official said earlier on Wednesday that Trump is "as committed to trying to achieve the ultimate peace deal as ever but he will not tolerate falsehoods being spread about America and our positions—and he certainly will not spend taxpayer dollars to subsidize those who spread them." The senior official added that the Trump administration is continuing to work on its' plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.