Tasnim – A noted British political scientist and author said 35 countries abstained from a vote at the UN General Assembly against US President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem (al-Quds) out of fear of being punished by Washington.
“Some of the countries which abstained no doubt found it expedient to do so, fearing the wrath of the US if they did. This most capricious and volatile of US presidents is still after nearly a year after taking office still something of an unknown quantity and many countries are still finding their way in relation to dealing with the US during his presidency…,” Professor Jeffrey Haynes told the Tasnim News agency.
Jeffrey Haynes is Emeritus Professor of Politics at London Metropolitan University. He has research interests in several areas, including: religion and international relations; religion and politics; democracy and democratization; and the politics of development. Haynes has more than 230 publications, including over 40 books. Haynes is book series editor of ‘Routledge Studies in Religion & Politics,’ for the major publisher Routledge, UK, which publishes around four books a year, co-editor of the journal, Democratization, published eight times a year by Taylor and Francis, and co-editor of Democratization’s book series, ‘Special Issues and Virtual Special Issues,’ which publishes approximately three volumes a year.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: More than 100 countries defied President Donald Trump and voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem (al-Quds) as Israel’s capital. What’s your take on this?
Haynes: That the US decision was massively unpopular – not least because it was fundamentally against international law and reflective solely of US ‘national interests’ – as seen by Trump and his advisors. However, the fact that 35 countries abstained in the vote suggests that US clout – in particular linked to threats to cut US aid to those who voted against the resolution – was also significant.
Tasnim: Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted in favor. His warning did appear to have some impact with nine countries voting against the resolution and 35 abstaining. A total of 128 countries voted for the resolution. In your opinion, which courtiers abstained from the vote? What’s your take on Trump’s threats?
Haynes: Some of the countries which abstained no doubt found it expedient to do so, fearing the wrath of the US if they did. This most capricious and volatile of US presidents is still after nearly a year after taking office still something of an unknown quantity and many countries are still finding their way in relation to dealing with the US during his presidency. But the ‘ripping up’ of international law by the US is very worrisome for many of the countries that abstained.
Tasnim: What might the future hold about the situation in the occupied territories?
Haynes: More of the same. The Turkish decision to locate its embassy in East Jerusalem will keep the focus on the issue a little longer but the fact of the matter is that the ‘international community’ has made very little – if any – progress on the issue: ‘compelling’ Israel to obey international law in relation to the occupied territories. This is for two reasons: a weak, divided and unfocused ‘international community’ and unwavering US (and EU) support for Israel which makes successive Israeli regimes- strongly backed by Israeli public opinion – continue to defy both international law and international opinion.