The entire United Nations Security Council — all 14 countries that aren’t the United States, anyway — issued a condemnation late on Friday of President Trump’s decision to unilaterally declare Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel.
The move had been highly contested even by Trump’s own Secretaries of State and Defense, the two agencies most responsible for dealing with the fallout from such a rash and unwarranted action. Rex Tillerson and James Mattis had each weighed in on breaking the decades-old pattern of withholding recognition, both understanding obviously far more deeply than Donald Trump the implications of such a decision.
After what has proved to be a violent and sometimes deadly reaction to Trump’s decree, the Security Council was convened at the request of more than half the member nations. Eight countries called for an emergency meeting after condemnation from world leaders and global diplomats concerned with the prospect for peace in the Middle East. The countries were France, Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain, and Uruguay. France and the UK are both permanent members, which lent far more weight to the decision to meet.
There’s not a whole lot that the Council can do, since any action would have to be voted on and the United States, as a permanent member itself, has veto power. But after the meeting, the leaders of Britain, France, Sweden, Germany, and Italy issued a joint statement saying that Trump’s decision was “not in line with Security Council resolutions and was unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”
There have been at least nine UNSC resolutions concerning Jerusalem and its status since the convention of the Security Council first included Israel as its own state, according to the New York Times, and Trump’s decision essentially undermines all of them.
The announcement by the US president set off violent responses, with Palestinians being killed on the Gaza/Israeli border and injured in Gaza and Bethlehem. If the move sparks another outright war between Israel and the Palestinians, it will be the fourth such conflict in the last decade.
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