The President of the United States on Wednesday confirmed that countries voting in favor of a United Nations draft resolution condemning the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could lose U.S. aid money.
“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,” Reuters quoted Trump as saying during a White House press conference.
The statement follows a letter sent to UN members by U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, in which she warned other ambassadors that she would “report back on those countries who voted against us.”
The vote will take place during an emergency session on Thursday. While the resolution is expected to easily pass with a majority of the 193-member votes, even if every member outside of the U.S. and Israel voted to approve the draft resolution, the decision would be non-binding.
On Twitter, Haley continued the threats, tweeting out:
“At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”
According to Reuters, Trump said he “likes” Haley’s message.
“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations, for all those nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council, or they vote against us potentially at the assembly,” Trump said.
PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi hit back at Trump in a statement, warning that “there are things that are not for sale or subject to blackmail.”
“President Trump should know that there are things that are not for sale or subject to blackmail, particularly issues of principle, legality and morality. Extortion is the most effective way for the U.S. to isolate itself even further and to weaken its influence and standing globally,” Ashrawi wrote.
“We will not be deterred or intimidated,” she added. “The overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly members will honor their own legal and political obligations on Palestine.”
The vote on the draft resolution in the General Assembly, expected to take place on Thursday, follows a vote in the Security Council that took place on Monday, where the resolution was vetoed by the U.S. — the first Security Council veto the U.S. had made in six years. The last instance was in 2011 when the Obama administration struck down a resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlement construction.
The other 14 members of the Security Council voted to approve the Egyptian-drafted resolution.
The resolution did not mention the United States by name, but targeted the Trump administration’s Dec. 6 decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, by affirming “that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.”
The U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, announced on Dec. 6, signaled a shift in long standing foreign policy, both for the U.S. and the international community.
Since the creation of Israel, no country outside of Israel has accepted Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, since the city’s sovereignty is an essential issue between the two powers and the future of the peace process, as both Israel and Palestine imagine Jerusalem working as their state capital after any potential negotiations are reached in the future.