US President Donald Trump has threatened to
cut off financial aid to countries that back a
United Nations resolution opposing the
recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Earlier this month, Mr Trump took that step
amid international criticism.
"They take hundreds of millions of dollars and
even billions of dollars, and then they vote
against us," he told reporters at the White
"Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We
His comments come ahead of a UN General
Assembly vote on a resolution opposing any
recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The draft resolution does not mention the US,
but says any decisions on Jerusalem should be
Earlier, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley
warned member states that President Trump
had asked her to report on "who voted against
us" on Thursday.
By Nada Tawfik, BBC News, New York
President Trump and Ambassador Haley are
trying to use American muscle rather than
diplomacy to convince countries to vote their
way. From Washington's perspective, recognising
Jerusalem as Israel's capital and deciding to
move its embassy there is its sovereign right.
But that's not how the majority of countries at
the United Nations see it.
The strongest repudiation came, unsurprisingly,
from Washington's critics.
Meanwhile, many US allies are brushing off the
tough rhetoric as an empty threat.
A senior diplomat told me it was clear that the
Trump administration was determined to take a
stand for Israel at the UN, but he doubted that
Washington would cut aid to, say, Egypt - which
sponsored the failed Security Council measure
on which the General Assembly draft resolution
What is certain is that the US will be isolated in
the General Assembly on Thursday as the rest of
the world once again tells President Trump that
it does not agree with his decision on Jerusalem.
The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of the
Israel occupied the east of the city, previously
occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war
and regards the entire city as its indivisible
The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the
capital of a future state and its final status is
meant to be discussed in the latter stages of
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never
been recognised internationally, and all
countries currently maintain their embassies in
Tel Aviv. However, President Trump has told the
US state department to start work on moving
the US embassy.
The 193-member UN General Assembly will hold
a rare emergency special session on Thursday at
the request of Arab and Muslim states, who
condemned Mr Trump's decision to reverse
decades of US policy earlier this month.
The Palestinians called for the meeting after the
US vetoed a Security Council resolution, which
affirmed that any decisions on the status of
Jerusalem were "null and void and must be
rescinded", and urged all states to "refrain from
the establishment of diplomatic missions in the
The other 14 members of the Security Council
voted in favour of the draft, but Ms Haley
described it as an "insult".
The non-binding resolution put forward by
Turkey and Yemen for the General Assembly
vote mirrors the vetoed Security Council draft.
The Palestinian permanent observer at the UN,
Riyad Mansour, said he hoped there would be
"overwhelming support" for the resolution.
But on Tuesday, Ms Haley warned in a letter to
dozens of member states that encouraged them
to "know that the president and the US take this
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.
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 19,
"The president will be watching this vote
carefully and has requested I report back on
those countries who voted against us. We will
take note of each and every vote on this issue,"
she wrote, according to journalists who were
shown the letter.
"The president's announcement does not affect
final status negotiations in any way, including
the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in
Jerusalem," she added. "The president also
made sure to support the status quo of
Jerusalem's holy sites."
Ms Haley echoed the warning on Twitter ,
writing: "The US will be taking names."
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and
his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu,
accused the US of intimidation.
"We see that the United States, which was left
alone, is now resorting to threats. No
honourable, dignified country would bow down
to this pressure," Mr Cavusoglu told a joint news
conference in Ankara on Wednesday before
travelling to New York.