Taking a less-than-diplomatic tone, Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., on Tuesday night threatened member states who are considering voting in favor of a non-binding resolution deriding President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In a scathing tweet, Haley vowed that the United States “will be taking names” on Thursday’s vote, which will take place at an emergency meeting of the council.
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. pic.twitter.com/ZsusB8Hqt4
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 19, 2017
The tweet includes a photo of Haley at the U.N. Security Council, vetoing another draft resolution on Jerusalem on Monday. All of the other 14 member states voted in favor of the resolution, put forth by Egypt, which asked member nations to refrain from moving their embassies to Jerusalem and called for preserving the demographics of the city (the subject of decades-long negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis). The United States was the sole vote against the resolution.
Speaking before the Security Council on Monday, Haley said the veto amounted to the United States being “forced to defend its sovereignty.” She called Monday’s 14-1 vote “an insult,” saying “It won’t be forgotten.”
President Trump’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital coupled with his announcement that the United States will, in due time, move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was met with international criticism and condemnation. Allies and adversaries alike questioned the legitimacy of the decision, with armed groups ranging from Hezbollah to Al Shabbab using the announcement as a call to arms.
Trump on Wednesday followed up on Haley’s threat by saying the United States would cut off aid to countries who vote in favor of Thursday’s draft resolution, which calls on the United States to reverse its decision on Jerusalem.
“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,” said Trump, according to Reuters.
Since Trump’s December 6 announcement, protests have swept the Middle East and beyond. Heads of state in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia have issued statements disagreeing with the decision and have vowed to keep pressing the issue before the United Nations.
Haley’s style of diplomatic engagement has come into sharp focus in recent weeks as she’s pushed for U.N. member states to further isolate North Korea, and tried to escalate action against Iran after holding an elaborate press conference at a military base outside Washington, D.C. last week (wherein she stood before charred munitions she claimed were provided to Yemen by Iran). The U.N.’s latest report could not confirm the origin of the weapons, but Haley insisted that the weapons are “Iranian made…Iranian sent, and… Iranian given.” The United States has been trying to build a case for additional sanctions against Iran hinging on weapons sales to Yemen, which would be in violation of two U.N. resolutions.
At least three missiles have been fired by the Houthi rebels, said to be backed by Iran (a charge Iran denies) from Yemen toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh in retaliation for Saudi Arabia’s participation in Yemen’s civil war. No casualties were reported from the missiles, which were intercepted by Saudi Arabia.
This story has been updated to include President Trump’s comments.