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December 19, 2017 12:51 pm

Turkish Leader Erdogan Pledges to Take Defeated Security Council Resolution on Jerusalem to UN General Assembly

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avatar by Ben Cohen and Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets a crowd in Ankara on December 15. Photo: Reuters/Kayhan Ozer.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on Tuesday to introduce at the UN General Assembly the resolution on Jerusalem’s status vetoed by the US on Monday when it came before the Security Council.

“Now, God willing, we will carry the resolution to the UN General Assembly,” Erdogan said at a joint news conference with the Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Erdogan claimed in his remarks that “two-thirds support in the General Assembly would actually mean the rejection of the decision made by the Security Council.” However, resolutions of the General Assembly are legally non-binding. In order to bypass a Security Council veto, UN member states can try to convene an “Emergency Special Session” (ESS), a procedure that has been executed only ten times in the UN’s history.

The most recent occasion was in 1997, when Qatar convened an ESS in response to Israel’s construction of new homes in eastern Jerusalem. But that effort has been hampered by numerous adjournments, and has not met in session since January 2009.

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Nonetheless, Erdogan’s announcement is likely to fuel American and Israeli concerns that US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital on December 6 will be used as a pretext for renewed anti-Israel campaigns at the UN General Assembly, as well as bodies like the UN Human Rights Council, which retains a permanent agenda item —  “Item 7” —  devoted to alleged Israeli abuses.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made it a personal mission to eradicate antisemitism at the global intergovernmental institution, declaring in April 2017 that calls for the destruction of Israel constitute “modern antisemitism” and promising to treat the Jewish state with “impartiality.”

However, the Israeli and American envoys at Monday’s Security Council debate depicted the Egyptian-drafted resolution as embodying the challenges to its legitimacy that Israel still faces at the UN.  Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said that those countries who voted for the resolution “have only reaffirmed the UN’s decades-long double standard when it comes to Israel.”

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stated that what “we witnessed here in the Security Council is an insult,” adding: “It won’t be forgotten.”

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