UN Jerusalem vote: These 8 nations sided with U.S.
Published Thursday, December 21, 2017 4:25PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 21, 2017 5:08PM EST
In a scathing rejection of U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to urge Trump to rescind his decision.
A total of 128 countries voted in favour of the motion Thursday.
Only nine countries voted against the motion. They include:
- Marshall Islands
- United States
Canada was among 35 countries that abstained from the vote.
Despite the hands-off approach, Canada’s ambassador the UN Marc-Andre Blanchard said that “denying the connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths undermines the integrity of the site for all.”
Blanchard added: “We also reiterate the need to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem's Holy sites.”
In a stern warning to her fellow ambassadors before the vote, U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that “no vote in the United Nations” will change the Trump administration’s decision.
“But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries that disrespect us in the UN. And this vote will be remembered,” Haley said.
Canada’s decision to abstain comes from a simple logic, according to Bessma Momani, a senior fellow with the Waterloo-based Centre for International Governance Innovation.
“Frankly, I think it’s just one factor: NAFTA, NAFTA, NAFTA,” Momani told CTV News Channel on Thursday. “Frankly, I think we were bullied into this.”
Canada is still hoping to hammer out a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. The issue was raised by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this week.
Following Thursday’s UN vote, Freeland confirmed in a statement that Canada maintains its position that “the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.”
But Momani said Canada’s vote doesn’t reflect the government’s core beliefs.
“If we voted with our heart, we would’ve voted ‘no.’ But I think what we see here today is that frankly, the Americans bullied us into this position,” she said.
Mexico, the third negotiator in the NAFTA talks, also abstained from the vote. Australia, Argentina, Colombia and Panama also chose not to take sides.
“If you drill down that list, the 35 or so that abstained, they would probably have again disagreed with the Americans. Similarly, those who didn’t show up, like Ukraine and others, are in a similar situation,” Momani said.
Mira Sucharov, a political science professor from Carleton University, said Canada’s abstention did not come as much of a surprise, and described the vote as a “prudent course of action” for both Canada and Mexico amid NAFTA uncertainty.
“Canada was stuck between not wanting to totally anger its very important ally, the U.S., and at the same time maintain its principled stance regarding the future of Jerusalem,” Sucharov said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the vote as “theatre of the absurd.” Sucharov agreed, to an extent, that vote was both “theatrical” and “symbolic.”
“Capitals are symbolic, recognition of capitals by third-party actors is symbolic. In a sense, there is a kernel of truth there in that Israel has declared its own capital to be Jerusalem,” she said.
Beyond symbolism, Sucharov said the vote reflects how countries stand on the issue of the fate of the West Bank and Palestinians living in east Jerusalem.
Read below for a complete list on how the UN nations voted.
Countries that abstained:
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- South Sudan
Countries that voted for the motion:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Burkina Faso
- Cabo Verde
- Costa Rica
- Cote D’Ivoire
- Democratic Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Republic of Korea
- Saint Vincent-Grenadines
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- Syrian Arab Republic
- The FYR Macedonia
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United Republic of Tanzania