How countries voted on Jerusalem's status at the General Assembly
Top US aid recipients ignored White House threat, while Israeli outreach was shown to be limited
Ahead of a dramatic vote at the United Nations on Thursday, the United States made an unprecedented threat to fellow members of the international community: those who vote against president Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital risked diplomatic retaliation and losing American financial aid.
But when the dust settled, the biggest recipients of American aid — most of them Muslim or Arab countries — rejected the threat, leaving the White House facing a tricky dilemma as it plots a course forward for the Middle East. Key Arab allies, led by Saudi Arabia, all banded together against the US.
Yet for Mr Trump and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there were some bright spots despite the 128-9 vote. Some influential countries, mostly African and Latin American nations courted by Israel in recent years, stepped back from past support for the Palestinians by abstaining or skipping the vote altogether. Still, two of Mr Netanyahu's biggest targets, China and India, came down solidly in favour of the Palestinians.
These mixed trends could allow each side to claim a victory of sorts.
Here is a closer look at how key countries and regions voted in the General Assembly resolution:
With the exception of Israel, the top recipients of international aid are Muslim, Arab or African countries. Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan all voted to back the resolution proposed by the Palestinians, as did African countries Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Africa. In addition to Israel, the only member of the top 10 aid recipients not to support the Palestinians was Kenya, a close Israeli ally that skipped the vote, according to foreignassistance.gov.
The Arab world voted across the board with the Palestinians, an expected move given the importance of Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause to the Arab public. Nonetheless, the vote could embarrass the White House, which has sought to cultivate ties with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other moderate Sunni countries to counter rising Iranian influence. It also could complicate attempts by the US to rally support for an expected region-wide peace plan it says is in the works.
The Palestinians praised the majority in their favour, saying it showed "once again that the just Palestinian cause enjoys the support of the international community". Yet the Palestinians have long enjoyed widespread support in the United Nations, which is dominated by developing countries sympathetic to their cause.
In a possible cause for concern, the level of support was slightly less than a 2012 landmark vote in the General Assembly to recognise Palestine as a non-member state. In that vote, 138 nations supported the Palestinians, compared to 125 on Thursday.
Netanyahu has made significant efforts in recent years to build ties with countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America in a bid to soften support for the Palestinians at the UN. Those efforts showed some signs of success. After the vote, Mr Netanyahu said he appreciated the growing number of countries that "refused to participate in this theatre of the absurd".
Mexico and Argentina, countries that Mr Netanyahu visited earlier this year, both shifted from past support for the Palestinians to abstentions on Thursday. Two Latin American countries, Guatemala and Honduras, even voted against the resolution.
While Kenya skipped the General Assembly vote, Uganda and South Sudan — African countries courted by Mr Netanyahu — also dropped their past support for the Palestinians and abstained.
But a possible concern for Israel could be the apparent support by two countries with poor human-rights records — Myanmar, which skipped the vote, and the Philippines, which abstained. Both countries voted with the Palestinians in 2012.
The Indian and Chinese votes also exposed the limits of Mr Netanyahu's outreach.
As the US prepares a new Mideast peace push, Thursday's vote at the General Assembly exposed deep divisions with Europe. The three most important countries in Europe — Britain, France and Germany — all voted against the US on Thursday. That could signal trouble if the Washington seeks European support for its peace plan down the road.
Other European countries with close ties to Israel, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic — all with nationalist governments — abstained in the vote.
These divisions within Europe could complicate attempts by the European Union to formulate a joint position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict moving forward.
Below is the full list of how each country attending Thursday's session voted:
1. United States
5. Marshall Islands
18. Brunei Darussalam
20. Burkina Faso
22. Cabo Verde
29. Costa Rica
30. Ivory Coast
33. North Korea
85. New Zealand
93. Papua New Guinea
96. South Korea
98. St Vincent-Grenada
99. Saudi Arabia
107. South Africa
109. Sri Lanka
121. United Kingdom
12. Czech Republic
13. Dominican Republic
14. Equatorial Guinea
30. Solomon Islands
31. South Sudan
Published: December 22, 2017 12:50 PM