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US aid threat no match for UN common sense

By Lance Crayon (People's Daily Online)    09:36, December 25, 2017

Going into the UN resolution vote on Israel’s new capital last Thursday, the White House sent UN delegates a clear reminder of how important their role is, and how vital they could be if a nation in need ever calls upon the US for help.

There couldn’t have been one person at UN Headquarters in New York who felt that Trump’s unilateral campaign promise would win UN majority approval.

“The president’s decision reflects the will of the American people,” said US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, shortly before the resolution vote. How this conclusion was reached remains a mystery as Americans , in general, could really care less.

When the numbers came in, 128 voted yes, opposing the change in Israel’s capital, a sign that the UN majority believes a two-State solution should be reached by the parties directly involved, and not by an outsider.

Israel’s leaders didn’t have much to say following Thursday’s result, unlike this time last year when the UN Security Council voted against the development of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory by claiming they had “no legal validity” and hindered the two-State peace process.

Israel announced the settlement resolution was “absurd”, and refused to receive several foreign ambassadors in Tel Aviv.

This settlement issue is the big reason why Trump picked David Friedman, a lawyer and proponent of the movement, to serve as US Ambassador to Israel. When combined, it seems the whole thing is a big real estate deal gone wrong.

Israeli leaders haven't said much publicly after the 128 UN members nations showed their disapproval. Netanyahu later tweeted, “Thank you President Trump and Ambassador Haley for standing up for Israel and for standing up for the truth. Ultimately the truth will prevail.” Nine member nations, including Honduras and Guatemala, voted in support of Trump’s decision.

The US wasn't going to let the decision affect their optimism over the move. Haley posted a photo on Twitter of the 65 nations who supported the US by either voting in favour of the capital move, or choosing to abstain from Thursday’s resolution vote. And then in a soft act of diplomacy, she decided it would be a good idea to throw a party for her UN buddies, a two-hour weekday event scheduled for January 3 at a location to be determined.

The so-called need to move Israel’s capital entered the US presidential campaign vernacular when Bill Clinton said in 1992 that if was elected president, it would make it happen. Three years later, after the Jerusalem Act made it through Congress, Clinton didn’t sign it.

How many US voters concerned with peace in the Middle East consciously spend their free time thinking about what a shame it is the US embassy isn’t in Jerusalem? How many US citizens even know where Jerusalem is?

Nine UN member nations voted in support of Trump’s decision, including Guatemala and Honduras.

Guatemala needs all the support it can get. In 2016, Guatemala averaged 101 murders per week, but no school or mass shootings. On Sunday, the president announced they would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to be Jerusalem.

Honduras needs the US, especially now as the country has been ripped apart by accusations of election fraud. Nationwide unrest forced the government to mandate a national curfew from 6 pm to6 am that is currently in effect. On Friday, heading into the Christmas weekend, the US State Department called Juan Orlando Hernandez to congratulate him on last month’s presidential victory.

Former CIA Director John Owen Brennan recently opened a Twitter account. It was a decision fueled by the aid-pulling warnings from the US to those nations in opposition with the Jerusalem initiative.

On December 21, Brennan tweeted, “ Trump Admin threat to retaliate against nations that exercise sovereign right in UN to oppose US position on Jerusalem is beyond outrageous.”

A focus on bilateralism should be the blueprint for all international ties. Other countries could start exploring new channels to work with Israel and Palestine. The long term results of such efforts would lead to peace, not conflict. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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