Jerusalem UN vote: Trump threatens US aid recipients

US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that back a United Nations resolution opposing the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Earlier this month, Mr Trump took that step amid international criticism.

“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us,” he told reporters at the White House.

“Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

His comments come ahead of a UN General Assembly vote on a resolution opposing any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The draft resolution does not mention the US, but says any decisions on Jerusalem should be cancelled.

Earlier, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned member states that President Trump had asked her to report on “who voted against us” on Thursday.

President Trump and Ambassador Haley are trying to use American muscle rather than diplomacy to convince countries to vote their way. From Washington’s perspective, recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and deciding to move its embassy there is its sovereign right.

But that’s not how the majority of countries at the United Nations see it.

The strongest repudiation came, unsurprisingly, from Washington’s critics.

Meanwhile, many US allies are brushing off the tough rhetoric as an empty threat.

A senior diplomat told me it was clear that the Trump administration was determined to take a stand for Israel at the UN, but he doubted that Washington would cut aid to, say, Egypt – which sponsored the failed Security Council measure on which the General Assembly draft resolution is based.

What is certain is that the US will be isolated in the General Assembly on Thursday as the rest of the world once again tells President Trump that it does not agree with his decision on Jerusalem. (Courtesy BBC)

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