UN asks World Court to opine on Israel’s occupation of Palestine’s lands

Request for International Court of Justice’s opinion is made in a resolution adopted by General Assembly with 87 votes in favour. Israel, US and 24 other members vote against, while 53 abstain.

The 193-member United Nations General Assembly [UNGA] has asked the International Court of Justice [ICJ] to give an opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine’s territories.

The UNGA asked the ICJ on Friday to give an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

The UN resolution also asked the ICJ to advise on how those policies and practices “affect the legal status of the occupation” and what legal consequences arise for all countries and the United Nations from this status.

The request for a court opinion on Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories was made in a resolution adopted by the General Assembly with 87 votes in favour.

Israel, the United States and 24 other members voted against, while 53 abstained.

Palestine’s UN envoy Riyad Mansour noted that the vote came one day after the swearing in of a new hard-right Israeli government that promises to expand illegal Jewish settlements and pursue other policies criticised at home and abroad.

“We trust that, regardless of your vote today, if you believe in international law and peace, you will uphold the opinion of the International Court of Justice when delivered and you will stand up to this Israeli government right now,” Mansour told the General Assembly.

Israel called the global forum “morally bankrupt and politicised.”

“No international body can decide that the Jewish people are ‘occupiers’ in their own homeland. Any decision from a judicial body which receives its mandate from the morally bankrupt and politicised UN is completely illegitimate,” Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said in a statement ahead of the vote.

Israel’s former prime minister Yair Lapid — who was replaced on Thursday by Benjamin Netanyahu — last month urged world leaders to oppose the move, saying that bringing the matter to the court would “only play into the hands of extremists”.

The Hague-based ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the top UN court dealing with disputes between states. Its rulings are binding, though the ICJ has no power to enforce them.

The ICJ last weighed in on the conflict between Israel and the Palestine in 2004, when it ruled that an Israeli separation barrier was illegal. Israel rejected that ruling, accusing the court of being politically motivated.

Occupation and illegal settlements

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire East Jerusalem city in 1980, claiming it as Israel’s “eternal” capital — a move never recognised by the international community.

Palestine sees East Jerusalem, along with Gaza, as part of its country with East Jerusalem being the capital.

Under international law, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are “occupied territories” and all Jewish settlement-building activities on the land are illegal.

Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to “Judaise” the historic city by effacing its Palestinian Arab and Islamic identity and driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.

Almost 500,000 illegal Israeli settlers live in over 130 settlements dotting the occupied West Bank alongside nearly three million Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.

Source: TRT World


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