Panels in the General Assembly Hall showing the final count for the resolution on ‘the status of Jerusalem, during the resumed 10th Emergency Special Session on Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. UN/Manuel Elias

Philippines abstains as UN votes to rebuke Trump's Jerusalem decision
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - December 22, 2017 - 1:22am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 9:42 am.) — The Philippines and 34 other countries abstained on the United Nations vote on the resolution demanding all countries comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem.

The vote follows the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

An overwhelming majority of UN member-states voted to declare the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital null and void.

At the emergency special session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday, 128 countries voted in favor of the resolution expressing "deep regret" over recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.

On the other hand, nine member-states voted against the resolution, including Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palai, Togo and the US.

In the resolution, the UN stressed that the Holy City “is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant UN resolutions.”

On December 6, Trump declared the Holy City as Israel's capital and said that he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The US leader's decision sparked harsh objections from heads of state from the Middle East to Europe and beyond.

Several presidents and prime ministers have warned Trump that his decision may risk blowing up the new Arab-Israeli peace initiative and could lead to new violence in the region.

The Philippine government is yet to release a statement explaining its abstention from the UN vote on the resolution regarding the status of Jerusalem.

The Philippines was the only nation in Asia that voted in favor of the UN Partition Plan for Palestine on Nov. 29, 1947. The proposal recommended that Palestine be partitioned into an Arab State and a Jewish State, with a special international status for the city of Jerusalem under the administrative authority of the UN.

RELATED: Rallyists in Taguig denounce Trump declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

'No' vote on UN resolution on Rohingya

In November, the Philippines voted against a UN resolution urging Myanmar to end its military campaign Rohingya Muslims living in its Rakhine state.

The Philippines was among 10 nations — Belarus, Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Russia, Syria, Vietnam and Zimbabwe — that did not vote for the resolution of the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee.

“Our options were ‘no’ and ‘abstain.’ Why is a yes not an option? First, we’re chairman of the [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] and usually we want to resolve things with the ASEAN set,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said then.

He also said that, for the Philippines, "if we think the issue is being politicized, we don’t support it."

Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr., before the vote, had said abstention from the vote on the UN resolution on the Rohingya would have been the right thing to do.

In an online exchange with journalists, Locsin said the Philippines should have abstained from voting on the UN resolution “in deference to the Muslim and non-Muslim member states of ASEAN.”

“It will be different when it goes to plenary. I will push for abstention. It is the right thing,” Locsin said in a Twitter post, adding that a “yes” vote would be “divisive” and would “kill” ASEAN.

“ASEAN cannot stop the genocide of Rohingya. We adhere to unanimity and non-intervention,” he also said.

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