The United Nations has overwhelmingly backed a resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Two-thirds of the 193 member states supported the document, which said President Trump’s move was “null and void” and called on world nations to “refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem”.
“Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the result was announced
“Jerusalem is our capital, always was and always will be.”
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said her country would still relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, as Mr Trump had previously announced.
"America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do. And it is the right thing to do. No vote in the Untied Nations will make any difference on that," she said in a speech before the vote.
But 128 member states, including the United Kingdom and nearly all European Union countries, supported the resolution, which was tabled by Turkey and Yemen.
Nine countries including Israel and the United States voted against it, while 35 – Australia and Canada among them – abstained.
Speaking to journalists after the vote, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al-Malki declared “Jerusalem is and will remain always the capital of Palestine” and said any arrangement over two states sharing the city would have to be negotiated.
In a fiery speech earlier, Israel's Danny Danon had told delegates that it was “shameful for the United Nations that I must stand before you today”.
His country's delegation had distributed replicas of an ancient coin inscribed with the Hebrew words “Freedom of Zion”. He held up the original coin dating from 67 CE, the year of the revolt against Rome, as evidence of Jewish longevity in Jerusalem.
Mr Danon said the resolution was tantamount to “designating the Western Wall, the foundation of our holiest site, as illegal for the Jewish people” and supporting it would tell the Palestinians that they can “continue rejecting peace”.