President Donald Trump threatened to cut off foreign aid to countries that back an upcoming United Nations General Assembly resolution that seeks to annul America’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump said at the White House.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said that Trump’s statement was “extortion” and “the most effective way for the U.S. to isolate itself even further and to weaken its influence and standing globally.”
“President Trump should know that there are things that are not for sale or subject to blackmail, particularly issues of principle, legality and morality,” the PLO added.
Trump’s statement came after U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley warned that she would keep a list of the countries that supported the resolution.
“The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us,” Haley wrote in a letter to several U.N. ambassadors. “We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.”
Thursday’s measure is expected to pass due to the Arab and Muslim majority in the General Assembly, but it would only be a symbolic move and would have no practical implications for Israel or the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called on U.N. member states to reject the resolution.
“As with the recent resolution on Jerusalem that did not pass in the Security Council, any similar action in the General Assembly is ill-conceived and counterproductive to efforts to bring about a negotiated end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” said Conference of Presidents Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein in a joint statement. “We have written to many U.N. member states today urging them to vote against such a General Assembly resolution.”
The U.S. vetoed the Security Council resolution on Monday, but the Palestinians—backed by a bloc of countries led by Turkey and Bolivia—are initiating a vote on the same measure in the General Assembly on Thursday.