Explanation of Vote on UN General Assembly Resolutions on the Situation in the Middle East

Ambassador Richard Erdman
Area Advisor for Near Eastern Affairs
New York, New York
December 1, 2021


As President Biden and Secretary Blinken have repeatedly made clear, the United States believes Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security, and prosperity, both as an end in itself and as a means to advance toward a negotiated two-state solution. We are committed to supporting good-faith initiatives to achieve that goal—equal measures.

We believe the practice of voting year after year on the same resolutions in the General Assembly does nothing to bring us closer to that goal. The majority of these texts are unbalanced and, in many ways, they undermine the prospect of dialogue and cooperation. In doing so, they also damage the credibility of the United Nations.

I want to highlight one specific issue of serious concern, which is the reference to the holy sites in the Jerusalem text. The text only references “Haram al-Sharif,” rather than “Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount,” which is agreed terminology that recognizes the shared and diverse history of the holy site. The omission of this inclusive terminology is of real and sincere concern. It is morally, historically, and politically wrong for the members of this body to support language that denies both the Jewish and Muslim connections to the Temple Mount and Haram al-Sharif.

As such, the United States votes no on these three resolutions. We also encourage others to join us in supporting tangible, and constructive measures to help achieve peace.