UNITED NATIONS, Dec 21 (Reuters) - More than 100 countries defied President Donald Trump on Thursday and voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted in favor. A total of 128 countries backed the resolution, nine voted against and 35 abstained.
Trump’s threat appeared to have some impact, with more countries abstaining and rejecting the resolution than usually associated with Palestinian-related resolutions.
Nevertheless, Washington found itself isolated on the world stage as many of its Western and Arab allies voted for the measure.
Ahead of the vote, the United States said it was “singled out for attack” at the United Nations over Jerusalem, which holds Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites.
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, told the 193-member General Assembly.
“We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” she said.
Earlier this month, Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy by announcing the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who were furious over Trump’s move. The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the full city.
The vote was called at the request of Arab and Muslim countries. The United States, backing its ally Israel, vetoed the resolution on Monday in the 15-member U.N. Security Council.
The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which did not specifically mention the United States or Trump but which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
“Israel rejects the U.N. decision and at the same time is satisfied with the high number of countries that did not vote in its favor,” said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. “Israel thanks (U.S.) President Trump for his unequivocal position in favor of Jerusalem and thanks the countries that voted together with Israel, together with the truth.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told the United States it could not buy Turkey’s support in Thursday’s vote.
“Mr. Trump, you cannot buy Turkey’s democratic will with your dollars,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
“I hope and expect the United States won’t get the result it expects from there (the United Nations) and the world will give a very good lesson to the United States,” Erdogan said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the United Nations as a “house of lies” ahead of the vote.
“The State of Israel totally rejects this vote, even before (the resolution’s) approval,” Netanyahu said in a speech in the port city of Ashdod.