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Editorial: UN Jerusalem vote shows lack of civility in Trump's US

The U.N. General Assembly has denounced U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in an overwhelming vote and demanded that the president nullify his decision. While the U.N. resolution should be welcomed, as it has underscored the world's civility, we cannot overlook the United States' blatant pressuring of other nations by suggesting that the world's largest economy will terminate aid to those that vote in favor of the resolution. Is the Trump administration trying to bring the world to heel with power and money? It went beyond shocking or appalling to see how the U.S. reacted. In fact, the response was sad.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley addressed the assembly floor, saying, "This vote will be remembered," while touching on the large amount of contributions that her country makes to the U.N.

We have to say the international community will also remember that the United States tried to push its irrational decision through, using ridiculous measures and logic.

While the resolution is not binding, 128 countries including Japan voted in favor of it. In contrast, only nine nations including the U.S. and Israel voted against it, making it clear that those two allies have isolated themselves.

The United States should remember the role it played following the Gulf War. After defeating Iraq, which had invaded Kuwait, the U.S. co-sponsored the Madrid Conference in the fall of 1991 to discuss peacemaking in the Middle East, joined by all concerned parties. Washington persuaded a reluctant Israel to sit in the meeting.

Then President George H.W. Bush must have been unable to ignore criticism dealt out by Arab nations for ending Iraq's invasion of Kuwait with war but giving silent approval to its ally Israel's invasion of Palestine.

At the conference, Bush senior emphasized "peace based on fairness" and said peace negotiations were to take place based on U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which called for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the occupied zones and the start of negotiations for peace.

This conference was the starting point of building peace in the Middle East and the goal was to decide the designation of Jerusalem. There is no cause for Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. His decision can be taken as the implied declaration that the United States is no longer the middleman for peacemaking.

If that is the case, the world needs to seriously work out how to move peacebuilding in the Middle East forward. At the same time, President Trump needs to ponder the meaning of "fairness" touched upon by Bush as a fellow Republican president.

We understand that supporting Israel is one of Washington's basic premises, but in the past, the country had shown its integrity by maintaining a balance out of concern for international "fairness." If the Trump administration advances favoritism toward Israel, the integrity of the United States will be lost. Unless peace in the Middle East moves forward, permanent peace in Israel or stability in the international community will not be achieved.

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