Britain has joined 13 other members of the United Nations Security Council in backing a resolution, vetoed by the US, which rejected the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The vote, in which the two close allies unusually lined up on opposing sides, amounted to a demonstration of global concern at President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to the holy city.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May personally restated her disagreement with Mr Trump’s decision in a telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mr Trump sparked protests across the region by breaking from decades of US neutrality in the Middle East peace process on December 6 to announce he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
Mrs May moved quickly at the time to say she regarded the decision as “unhelpful for prospects for peace in the region” and to restate Britain’s position that the status of Jerusalem – claimed as capital by Israelis and Palestinians – should be settled as part of a negotiated settlement.
Speaking after Monday’s vote in New York, Britain’s UN ambassador Matthew Rycroft said: “The status of Jerusalem should be determined through a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.”
The vetoed resolution would have demanded that all countries comply with earlier Security Council decisions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, requiring the city’s final status to be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.