The United Nations general assembly has voted overwhelmingly to condemn Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in a rare emergency session of the global body.
The 193-nation general assembly approved the resolution by a massive margin, with 128 nations in favour, and nine against. There were 35 abstentions.
Mr Trump threatened on Wednesday to withhold aid to any country which defied the threats.
The majority of countries shrugged off the US bullying tactics and, throwing salt into the wounds in Washington, US allies including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and South Africa added their names at the last minute to the document condemning the decision.
The resolution was vetoed by the United States in the 15-member UN security council on Monday, but the US cannot veto a general assembly resolution.
Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, used her speech ahead of the vote to emphasis that the United States is the single largest contributor to the UN and its agencies, and said that in return it expected support for its decision.
“The arguments have already been made. The decision was in accordance to US law dating back to 1995. The decision does not prejudge any final status agreement. The decision does nothing to harm peace efforts,” she said.
“The United States will remember this day when it was singled out in the United Nations for the act of exercising our sovereignty.
“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. It is what the American people want us to do.
“This vote will make a difference at how America looks at the UN, and how we look at countries who disrespect us at the UN.”
But Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, told the assembly: “We meet today not due to any animosity towards the United States, but because of a decision that counts as an aggression.
“The decision will not affect the status of Jerusalem. Rather it affects the status of the United States as a mediator of peace.”
He said they had ignored warnings about inflaming tensions, and described the decision as “illegal” and “provocative”.
On the eve of the vote, Mrs Haley had sent a letter warning countries against voting to censure the US, and said that the US will be “taking names”.
“The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue,” she wrote.
Mr al-Maliki picked up on her words on Thursday, telling the assembly: “History records names. It records names of those who voted for what was right.”
The vote is non-binding, but carries political weight.
Only 10 such emergency sessions have been convened since 1950, and the last time was in 2009, to discuss occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian territories.