UN condemns Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

The United Nations has declared the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "null and void" as they urged Donald Trump to reconsider his stance.

A total of 128 states voted to back the motion at the General Assembly's emergency session after President Trump's incendiary announcement on 6 December.

The US and Israel were among 35 to vote against the resolution, while nine countries abstained.

Applause broke out in the chamber as it became clear that the vote had passed.

However, the number voting in favour was short of the 150 that backers had hoped, with some states apparently holding off after threats from the US to punish them by cutting aid payments.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would "completely rejects this vote" and attacked the UN as a "house of lies" in comments ahead of the vote which tacitly acknowledged it would pass.

The US envoy Nikki Haley also used the meeting to reiterate threats that Washington was ready to cut funding and support for countries which voted against them.

Mr Trump's announcement on Israel was the first such recognition by a major international power over the contested city. It breaks an international consensus that its final status must be decided in peace negotiations.

Palestine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Maliki, said the recognition risked “a religious war that has no boundaries" in speeches ahead of the vote.

Palestine's Dr. Riyad Mansour, center, talks with members of the UN General Assembly. Credit: AP

Mr al-Maliki said the US recognition "constitutes an aggression on the genuine and natural rights of the Palestinian people" and had grave implications over Washington's role as a mediator in the conflict.

"[The US] has failed in the test of Jerusalem despite our warnings and the warnings of the entire world to take this test seriously," he said.

He addressed Mr Trump directly, saying: "Mr President, history records names. It remembers names: the names of those who stand by what is right, and the names of those who speak falsehoods."

The representative for Turkey, which co-sponsored today's resolution, said the US decision was “an outrageous assault to all universal values”.

They were joined by a host of other countries who warned the decision breached international law, risked the peace process and could inflame wider tensions.

However, Ms Haley, for the US, repeated threats that her country would use its influence to punish those who voted against them.

"The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our rights as a sovereign nation.

"We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations.

"And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence to their benefit," she said.

Mr Trump yesterday threatened to cut off US funding to countries that oppose his decision.

A protester in Ramallah, Palestine, about to launch a projectile at Israeli forces. Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

At least three people have died in violent clashes within Palestine in reaction to Mr Trump's announcement.

Demonstrations have also been taking place across the Middle East and many Muslim nations including Iran, Jordan and Pakistan, with some protesters stamping on posters of Mr Trump or burning American flags.

Ms Haley had used the US veto to block an earlier vote at the UN Security Council calling on Mr Trump to withdraw his decision on Jerusalem.

However, she was unable to do the same at today's vote as the General Assembly has no vetoes.