The US acted properly in vetoing a misguided UN Security Council resolution designed to undo President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
First, it is beyond the jurisdiction of the United Nations to tell a sovereign nation what it can and cannot recognize. If Turkey, for example, were to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine,” there is nothing the UN could or would do. (Of course, most UN members would applaud such a move.)
Second, the resolution fails to recognize that it was the December 2016 Security Council Resolution — the one engineered by lame duck President Barack Obama — that changed the status of Jerusalem and complicated the efforts to achieve a compromise peace. Before that benighted resolution, Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital were widely recognized as part of Israel — or at worst, as disputed territory. Everyone knew that any peace agreement would inevitably recognize that these historically Jewish areas were an indigenous part of Israel. They were certainly not illegally occupied by Israel, any more than Bethlehem was illegally occupied by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Both Jerusalem and Bethlehem had originally been deemed part of an international zone by the United Nations when it divided the British mandate into two states for two people — a decision accepted by the Jews in then-British Mandated Palestine and rejected by all the Arab nations and the Palestinian Arabs in the area. Jordan then attacked Israel and illegally occupied the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, prohibiting any Jewish access to these holy areas, as well as to the University and hospital. Jordan also illegally occupied Bethlehem.