Security Council convenes on J'lem
US Envoy to UN Haley says in special UN Security Council session on J'lem, 'US to no longer stand by as Israel attacked in UN, lectured to by countries that lack credibility in treating Israel fairly. Trump remains committed to peace process.'; US should recant 'illegal, provocative decision' says Palestinian envoy.
Speaking amid the Palestinian delegation's demand that the Security Council denounce the president's decision, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was adamantly pro-Israel in saying, "To those who do not act in good faith or that use this week's decision as a pretext for violence – you are only showing yourselves to be unfit partners of peace."
Haley remarks are as follows:
"For nearly 70 years, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel, despite many attempts by others to deny that reality. The American people are less patient.
"In 1948, the United States was the first nation to recognize the independent state of Israel. In 1995, the US Congress declared that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel, and that the US Embassy should be located in Jerusalem.
"Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all agreed with that position, but they did not act. They delayed, in the hopes that a peace process would produce results – results that never came.
"This week, President Trump finally made the decision to no longer deny the will of the American people. The president has announced that the United States recognizes the obvious – that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He has also instructed the State Department to begin the process of relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That is what the president has done.
"And this is what he has not done: The United States has not taken a position on boundaries or borders. The specific dimensions of sovereignty over Jerusalem are still to be decided by the Israelis and the Palestinians in negotiations.
"The United States has not advocated changing any of the arrangements at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. The President specifically called for maintaining the status quo at the holy sites. Finally, and critically, the United States is not predetermining final status issues. We support a two-state solution if agreed to by the parties.
"Israel, like all nations, has the right to determine its capital city. It is simple common sense that foreign embassies be located there. In virtually every country in the world, US embassies are located in the host country’s capital city. Israel should be no different.
"The United States took this step in full knowledge that it will raise questions and concerns. Our actions are intended to help advance the cause of peace. We must recognize that peace is advanced, not set back, when all parties are honest with each other.
"I understand the concern members have in calling this session. Change is hard. But we should never doubt what the truth can do. We should never doubt that when we face the truth, and encourage each other, that peace can happen. The president and this administration remain committed to the peace process.
"To those who do not act in good faith – to any person, leader, country, or terrorist group that uses this week’s decision as a pretext for violence – you are only showing yourselves to be unfit partners of peace.
"Finally, I will not let this moment pass without a comment about the United Nations itself. Over many years, the United Nations has outrageously been of the world's foremost centers of hostility towards Israel.
The UN has done much more to damage the prospects for Middle East peace than to advance them. We will not be a party to that. The United States no longer stands by when Israel is unfairly attacked in the United Nations. And the United States will not be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.
"To my Palestinian brothers and sisters, the United States is deeply committed to achieving a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We have demonstrated that commitment over many years and with the investment of large quantities of financial resources and diplomatic energy.
Sadly, peace between the two sides has not been achieved, but we will not give up. We are more committed to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace today than we've ever been before. And we believe we might be closer to that goal than ever before.
"I urge all countries in the Security Council and in the Middle East to temper their statements and their actions in the days ahead. Peace remains achievable. We must all do our parts to achieve it."
Palestinians: conflict threatens world stability
Before Haley's speech, the countries initiating the debate voiced differing notions. "The declaration is a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions. The status of Jerusalem will not change unless the parties agree to it. The Palestinians have a right to a state with east Jerusalem as its capital," said Egypt's Envoy to the UN Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta.
Permanent Obersever for Palestine to the UN Riyad Mansour called on the US to recant its "illegal, provocative, unjust and condescending decision, and violation of international law. The decision has no meaning except pleasing the occupying power of Israel". Mansour then demanded the Security Council denounce Trump's speech.
"We call on all countries to not recognize these unilateral moves, and to recognize Palestine and east Jerusalem as its capital. It will be an important contribution to the peace process," Mansour said, then cautioned that the "Palestinian conflict constitutes a threat to the world's stability. Jerusalem is a red line for the Palestinians. There can be no just, sustainable solution without solving the Jerusalem issue, which has been and will forever be the heart of Palestine."
Britain: Jerusalem as shared capital
"The British Embassy (in Israel—ed) is located in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it," said the United Kingdom's outgoing Envoy to the UN Matthew Rycroft in voicing her objection to Trump's announcement.
"Jerusalem should be the shared capital of both Israel and Palestine. The results of negotiations and the city's borders should be decided in negotiations between the parties predicated on two states for two peoples", Rycroft said.
The UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nikolay Mladenov voiced his concern with escalation in the region and reiterated the position of Secretary General António Guterres, according to which the status of Jerusalem must be decided on in negotiations between the parties. "There's no alternative to the two-state solution," he added.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, "(Trump's) announcement revealed a sad truth about some people around the world. The people who may say they want peace but threaten to ignite a wave of violence. The Palestinians have a decision to make. They can choose violence as they always have ... or they can choose to join us at the negotiating table."