UN council weighs move to reject US decision

UNITED NATIONS • The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution finding any change to the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be reversed, after the United States recognised the city as Israel's capital.

Egypt circulated the draft text last Saturday, and diplomats said the council could vote on the proposed measure as early as today.

Breaking with the international consensus, US President Donald Trump this month announced that he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, sparking protests and strong condemnation.

The draft resolution obtained by Agence France-Presse stresses that Jerusalem is an issue "to be resolved through negotiations" and expresses "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem", without specifically mentioning Mr Trump's move.

"Any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition" of Jerusalem "have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded", it says.

Diplomats said they expected the US to use its veto power to block the measure while most, if not all, of the 14 other council members were expected to back the draft resolution.

US Vice-President Mike Pence will visit Jerusalem on Wednesday, wading into the crisis.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon "strongly condemned" the draft, calling it an attempt by the Palestinians "to reinvent history".

The draft resolution calls on all countries to refrain from opening embassies in Jerusalem, reflecting concerns that other governments could follow the US lead.

It demands that all member states not recognise any actions that are contrary to UN resolutions on the status of the city.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2017, with the headline 'UN council weighs move to reject US decision'. Print Edition | Subscribe