Turkey’s presidential aide on Saturday hailed the UN General Assembly vote which rejected the unilateral U.S. decision of declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In a column for Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper, Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said: “The loud and clear message of Thursday’s U.N. General Assembly vote is that Jerusalem is not alone and tactics of intimidation, blackmail, occupation and dispossession cannot be a norm in the 21st century.”

The UN General Assembly on Thursday in a non-binding resolution rejected by an overwhelming majority of 128-9 the U.S. decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city.

Kalin said U.S. President Donald Trump might dismiss this resolution as non-binding, but he could not run away from this “dark time in the American diplomatic history”.

“The U.S. did not listen to warnings that this would lead to worldwide condemnation, isolate the U.S. and eventually be rejected at the U.N. General Assembly. On the contrary, it went further and resorted to threats and blackmail hours before the vote. This will go down in diplomatic history as a dark time for the U.S., but a major victory for international law and higher moral ground,” he said.

Trump had warned that aid would be cut to those countries voting against Washington’s move at the General Assembly. “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 told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

Kalin called Thursday’s vote “a historic moment in the history of the Palestinian struggle for independence, peace and dignity”.

“The world has demonstrated that the people of Palestine and Jerusalem are not alone and will not be left to the whims and wishes of American or Israeli administrations against international norms and moral principles,” he added.

Kalin recalled an extraordinary summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) convened earlier in December in Istanbul by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where East Jerusalem was declared as Palestine’s capital.

“The consensus that emerged at the summit has gone beyond the Arab and Muslim world to include Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America,” Kalin said.

He argued that U.S. could not win the trust and confidence of Palestinians or the Muslim world with threats and blackmail.

“The [U.N.] vote affirms that there is no alternative to the two-state solution and that Israel must end its occupation and plundering of Palestinian territories. Instead of supporting the occupation, the U.S. administration must use its leverage to implement the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

“We should now capitalize on this historic moment to promote a fair and sustainable peace plan designed to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The world should continue its support of Palestinians and their aspiration for freedom, security and peace.”

Kalin called on the EU to take the lead in recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state.

“Together with OIC countries and Turkey as its term president, the EU should take a leading role in the next phase of the issue….sending a message that is as forceful as it is necessary, by immediately recognizing the State of Palestine,” Kalin added.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel — might eventually serve as the capital of an independent state of Palestine.

By Seyit Ahmet Aytac


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