The United Nations has voted to declare the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as "null and void"
Leer en Español: La ONU vota contra Trump
During an emergency session of the General Assembly on Thursday December 21st, 128 countries voted in favor of a resolution refusing United States’ President Donald Trump's controversial decision.
Nine countries voted against, while 35 abstained. Egypt called for the vote at the UN General Assembly after the US vetoed a resolution placed by the Security Council rejecting Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel Capital. The US cannot veto General Assembly motions due to the fact that it requires a simple majority to be adopted.
Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted in favor of the resolution. His warnings seemed to have affected the decision of nine countries who voted against the resolution and the 35 that abstained.
"We're watching those votes”, Trump said before the vote. "Let them vote against us, we'll save a lot. We don't care. But this isn't like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they're doing."
US ambassador at the UN, Nikki Haley, seemed to have also attempted to put pressure on other countries to not vote against Washington, vowing to "take names." But how convincing is this threat? And which governments are most susceptible to the US threat?
Military spending may be the biggest item Washington focuses on, but it's also the least likely to be cut. Most countries that receive significant military assistance from the US do so because they are key to American security interests -- like Iraq, Ukraine, or Pakistan.
Overseas development assistance, such as that provided by USAID, is a more likely target for cuts, though reductions would still have a domino effect on US businesses and citizens who rely on projects funded by donor programs.
Of the top 10 recipients of USAID money in 2016, many were African nations, including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Unlike Middle Eastern nations, these countries are potentially less invested in supporting the Palestinians.
Any US departure from Africa would also be a huge advantage to China, which has been increasing its footprint and influence on the continent. Beijing seems to be ready to replace Washington as the primary donor of the developing world, according to watchdog AidData.
But it is not just Africa, even in Latin-American, a cut from the US is a big opportunity for China and Russia. Both countries have been getting closer to the continent pursuing a change in the closest sphere of influence of the United States.
Palestine only see a symbolic act
Palestinian leaders have hailed the result of the vote at the UN rejecting a unilateral US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "The international community has unequivocally proved that it will not be intimidated or blackmailed, and its members will defend the global rule of law”, Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
But for others, the resolution approved by the UN General Assembly was nothing more than a symbolic act. "It's a pointless exercise," said Amany Khalifa, a political activist in Jerusalem. "The Palestinian Authority (PA) has to evaluate the whole diplomatic process of going to the UN. The experience we've had is that for decades now these resolutions have not changed anything", affirmed when it is questioned about the job of the UN in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Latin American Post | Carlos Gómez
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto