Israeli Papers See Victory in Seeming Defeat at UN General Assembly

No one expected UN to side with Israel and US, but more nations than usual held their tongues, and that’s big

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As anyone could have predicted, the UN General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution effectively condemning the United States for daring to recognize the obvious – that Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel.

Nevertheless, Israeli officials and newspapers were able to find more than a silver lining.

As former Israel Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor explained in an op-ed for the daily Israel Hayom, it wasn't about actually defeating the General Assembly motion:

"There are those who might see the vote tally yesterday and conclude it was a loss for Israel and the US, but that would be a mistake.

"The automatic majority against Israel passes 22 resolutions a year by a wide margin and will continue to do so. The fight in the General Assembly isn’t over whether a resolution will pass or not. That’s a lost battle. The fight is over how much it will be by and on the quality of the side standing with truth, morality and justice, and yesterday, that side was significant."

Indeed, Thursday's vote was much less of an "overwhelming" condemnation of a pro-Israel move that similar votes in the past.

Nine nations, including Israel and the US, obviously opposed the resolution. Most of the other friendly votes came from Pacific island nations.

What marked a major shift were the 35 nations that chose to abstain, whether because their views are shifting, or because US President Donald Trump threatened to cut their financial aid if they didn't.

Either way, it is something of a victory for Israel.

If these nations are changing their tune regarding Jerusalem, that's a clear win for the Jewish state and its historical claims.

But even if the abstentions were primarily out of fear of Trump, that's still a very positive outcome for Israel.

All the belly-aching over Trump and his brashness aside, the simple reality is that there can never be a true final status agreement to this conflict unless the world's sole superpower, the United States, supports it, if not sponsors it.

And that superpower has now signaled loud and clear that it won't back any agreement that fails to fully take into account Israel's claims and concerns.

That was the conclusion reached by columnist Noah Kliger in Israel's best-selling daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot:

"Victory pronouncements won’t help the non-state of Palestine or its leader — even Mahmoud Abbas understands that he absorbed a harsh blow yesterday, and if he ever wants a sovereign Palestinian state, he will have no choice but to accept Israel’s conditions."


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