128 countries have voted in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution calling on the United States to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The strong vote was taken despite a threat by US President Donald Trump to cut aid to those countries which voted against the United States.

Just nine countries backed the US and voted against the resolution and 35 abstained.

Malta, along with the rest of the EU, had condemned the US decision.  

Minutes before the vote, the United States said it was "singled out for attack" at the United Nations and repeated its threat.

“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation," US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the Assembly.

"We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” she told the 193-member General Assembly ahead of the vote.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the UN vote,

"The vote is a victory for Palestine," said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah. "We will continue our efforts in the United Nations and at all international forums to put an end to this occupation and to establish our Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital."

The vote was called at the request of Arab and Muslim countries. The United States, backing its ally Israel, vetoed the resolution on Monday in the 15-member UN Security Council.

The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favour of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which did not specifically mention the United States or Trump but which expressed "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem."

Earlier this month, Trump reversed decades of US. policy by announcing the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.

The status of Jerusalem, which holds Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites, is one of the thorniest obstacles to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who were furious over Trump’s move. The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the full city.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told the United States on Thursday it could not buy Turkey's support in the vote.

"Mr Trump, you cannot buy Turkey's democratic will with your dollars," Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.

"I hope and expect the United States won't get the result it expects from there (the United Nations) and the world will give a very good lesson to the United States," Erdogan said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the United Nations as a "house of lies" ahead of the vote.

"The State of Israel totally rejects this vote, even before (the resolution's) approval," Netanyahu said in a speech in the port city of Ashdod.


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