The UN General Assembly will hold a special session on Thursday, following a request by Arab and Muslim states. The countries have cited the US decision to veto a draft resolution on the status of Jerusalem.
According to Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour, the General Assembly will vote on a draft resolution calling for Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to be withdrawn. The same resolution, put to the UN Security Council, was vetoed by the United States on Monday.
The US – along with Russia, China, the UK, and France – is a permanent member of the Security Council, meaning that resolutions cannot be passed if it exercises its “right to veto.” All other UNSC members voted in favor of the resolution on Monday.
The representatives are seeking to invoke UN Resolution 377, known as the “Uniting for Peace” resolution, which is the only way to circumvent a Security Council veto. The resolution states that the assembly can call an emergency special session to consider a matter “with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures,” if the Security Council fails to act.
Only 10 such sessions have ever been convened, the most recent taking place in 2009 when the assembly called a meeting on East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. The Thursday meeting will be a continuation of that session.
Although UN General Assembly resolutions do not encounter vetoes they are not legally binding, unlike those passed by the Security Council. They are, however, seen to carry political weight.
US President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, prompting violent protests across the Middle East, Europe, and beyond. Although its biggest allies in the UN, including the UK and France, have slammed the decision, US envoy Nikki Haley has repeatedly stated that it was the “right thing to do,” as Jerusalem is indisputably the capital of the Jewish state.