Members of the UN Security Council raise their hands as they vote on a draft resolution that would reject US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a meeting on the situation in the Middle East including Palestine on December 18, 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York (Photo: AFP)
The United States on Monday vetoed a draft UN resolution rejecting President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, after all 14 other Security Council members backed the measure.
The veto cast by US Ambassador Nikki Haley highlighted Washington's isolation over Trump's announcement that the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively ignoring Palestinian claims on the city.
Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that backed the measure asserting that any decisions on the status of Jerusalem "have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded."
"The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy," Haley told the council after the veto.
"What we witnessed here today in the Security Council is an insult. It won't be forgotten," she said, describing the measure as "one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Egypt had requested the vote on Sunday, a day after it presented a draft resolution critical of Trump’s decision to members of the council.
Earlier on Monday, Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN, Amr Aboulatta, said that any attempt to change the status of the city of Jerusalem is a violation of international law and would be considered a "unilateral decision."
He also called on countries not to set up or transfer their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem.
Israel had seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, a move that has never been recognised by the international community.
The Palestinians have long-demanded occupied East Jerusalem for the capital of their future state.
Peace negotiations between the Palestinian authorities and Israel – which have lasted for more than two decades based on the 1993 Oslo accords – have broken down since 2014.
In recent years, Israel has intensified the construction of hundreds of illegal Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, thus creating new demographics that weaken the abilities of the Palestinians to build a geographically contiguous state.
There are an estimated 4.3 million Palestinians who live in the occupied territories; two million in Gaza, two million in the West Bank and 325,000 in East Jerusalem.
The Israeli crackdown on Palestinian protests against Trump's decision has left at least 11 Palestinians killed and more than 3,000 injured in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Over the past 50 years, the US has repeatedly vetoed resolutions that condemn Israeli aggression or illegal settlement-construction.