On Friday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to consider the issue of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the day after Benjamin Netanyahu assumed the presidency of a government that is the most right-wing in Israel’s history.
Palestinian officials said the UN vote to ask the International Court of Justice to give an opinion on the Israeli occupation was a victory and Israel must be held accountable.
The resolution was supported by 87 votes, 26 against, and 53 abstentions, amid the division of Western countries over the issue, while the Arab countries voted unanimously in favor of it, including those that normalized their relations with Israel.
The text calls for the Hague-based International Court to determine “the legal consequences of Israel’s continued violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” as well as its actions to “change the demographic composition, character and status of the city of Jerusalem.”
The Palestinian delegate to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said that the vote sent a message to Netanyahu’s new government regarding its intention to promote “settlement and racist” policies, praising countries that did not succumb to “threats and pressures.”
For his part, Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan described the decision as “a moral disgrace to the United Nations,” adding, “No international organization can decide whether the Jewish people are occupied in their land.” “Any decision taken by a judicial body that receives its mandate from the politicized and morally bankrupt United Nations is completely illegitimate,” he said.
The resolution also calls on Israel to put an end to settlement activity. But the General Assembly does not have binding power, unlike the UN Security Council, where Israel’s ally the United States has veto power.
The United States, the United Kingdom and Germany opposed the resolution, while France abstained.
British diplomat Thomas Phipps said, “We do not believe that the referral to the International Court of Justice will help push the parties involved towards dialogue.”