Israel Institute of New Zealand Director David Cumin is urging the Government to vote against a UN resolution criticising the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – cautioning that the resolution is misguided and a politicisation of the United Nations.
Earlier this week an Egyptian-drafted Security Council resolution called on US President Trump to rescind his decision and demanded that UN states acknowledge that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect”. It also demanded all states “not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to these resolutions”.
The resolution was vetoed by the US at the Security Council. Turkey and Yemen have now called an emergency meeting of the general assembly to vote on a similar resolution and to call on the UN General Assembly to declare the US move “null and void”. UN general assembly votes are not legally binding, but they serve as a barometer of international sentiment on key issues.
However, Dr Cumin says that there are several reasons why New Zealand should vote against the resolution:
- “New Zealand made a shameful mistake in co-sponsoring UNSC resolution 2334 in December of 2016, alongside Senegal, Venezuela, and Malaysia. That resolution did ‘purport to alter the status of Jerusalem’ by defining boundaries rather than leave them open for negotiation. A vote against this current resolution would demonstrate principle and balance”.
- “While the present resolution will call on UN members not to recognise Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel in order to promote negotiations, the same States sponsoring and pushing it are seeking recognition of East Jerusalem as the Capital of Palestine – a move that will remove an incentive for negotiations. It seems that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) wants to have its cake, eat it, and not let anyone else have any.”
- “The US decision is simply acknowledging an existing fact. It does not preclude negotiations that might result in the capital of a future Palestinian state in East Jerusalem.”
- “The US position on Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel isn’t new. It was first passed into law in 1995. However, ostensibly for national security reasons, every six months for the last two decades, successive US presidents have signed a waiver to suspend the relocation of the Embassy. Previous US Presidents have gone so far as to call Jerusalem the ‘undivided capital of Israel’”.
- “The United Nations has been hijacked by an anti-Israel agenda and New Zealand should not continue to enable bullies.
- There are 193 member states of the United Nations. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has 57 member states and they are all members of the ‘Non-aligned movement’, which has 125 member states. These countries invariably vote against Israel; 32 UN member states don’t even recognise Israel as a country.
- There have been 19 resolutions condemning Israel at the United Nations this past year. There were only 6 other resolutions that specifically singled out a nation and no country was targeted more than once except for Israel. New Zealand voted to support 16 of the 19 anti-Israel resolutions and abstained in the remaining 3. In contrast, Australia voted no to 6 of the resolutions, Canada voted no to 17 (they also abstained on the other 2), and the United States voted the same as Canada.
- Twice this year, UNESCO has passed resolutions that deny the historical Jewish connection to religious sites in Israel. This includes removing mention of Jewish connections to Jerusalem – the site of the Temple Mount, which is the Holiest site in Judaism – and Hebron, where Judaism’s patriarchs and matriarchs are believed to be buried.Israel and the United States left UNESCO because of their anti-Israel politicisation of history in October. New Zealand has been silent.
The Israel Institute of New Zealand has previously called on the New Zealand government to also recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.