By Shadi Khan Saif
The Afghan parliament on Saturday welcomed the recent UN General Assembly resolution which declared "null and void" the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
At the request of Arab and Muslim nations, a rare UN General Assembly emergency session was convened on Thursday in which an overwhelming majority voted in favor of a non-binding resolution; 128 countries backed the motion, while nine opposed it and 35 abstained.
Taking part in the debate over the matter, Afghan members of the parliament termed U.S. President Donald Trump's intimidation in this regard as "anti-democratic".
Trump had warned that aid would be cut to those countries voting against Washington’s move at the General Assembly. "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," Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
Khalil Ahmad Shahed Zada, member of the Afghan parliament, said in Saturday’s session that the U.S. should have respect for the views expressed at the General Assembly. "I appeal to United States which claims to believe in democracy and human rights to respect the views of the people of the world, the United Nations and the Muslim world."
He also hailed the leadership role played by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in uniting the Muslim world. Similar views were expressed by a number of Afghan lawmakers.
On Dec. 6, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite worldwide opposition. The decision has sparked angry demonstrations across the Muslim world including Afghanistan. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top Turkish officials have been at the international forefront opposing the U.S. move.
The Afghan government had also expressed its deep concerns over the move.
"The decision has affected the feelings of Muslims around the world and it will threaten peace in the Middle East. Therefore, any unilateral move in this respect, without the participation of Palestine, will not result in a positive and permanent solution [to the problem]," Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had said in a statement.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the perennial Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- occupied by Israel since 1967 -- might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
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