Tuesday, January 31st | 9 Shevat 5783

January 1, 2023 2:18 pm

UN’s ICJ Vote Could Spell Trouble for Israel, as New Government Reacts with Fury

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avatar by i24 News

Israel’s Eli Cohen, then economy minister, works at his office in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

i24News – On Saturday, 87 UN members voted in favor of a General Assembly resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory urgently.”

The UN called for an investigation into what the resolution calls: “Israeli measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

This decision drew a predictably furious Israeli response. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement shortly after the vote, saying, “Like the hundred other distorted decisions against Israel made by the UN in recent years, the despicable decision made today will not compel Israel.”

“The Jewish people are not conquering its country nor its internal capital, Jerusalem. And no decision made by the UN will distort this truth.”

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Israel’s new Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Twitter that the resolution was anti-Israel and lent support to “terrorist organizations and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement.” He also charged that it contravened “the agreed-upon principles of the UN itself.”

Some 26 countries voted against the resolution, and a significant number, 53, abstained. According to Netanyahu, a diplomacy push led by him helped soften the blow.

“Together with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, and the Foreign Ministry, we’ve made an important accomplishment,” Netanyahu stated. “After we stepped in, 11 countries changed their vote.”

As General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, the ICJ in the Hague will still need to decide whether to pursue such an opinion, with, at this point, an unknown outcome. But the UN resolution could spell trouble for Israel down the road.

Israeli diplomat Daniel Shek said, “Although this will have no direct bearing on the situation on the ground, this is a big deal in the long run.”

“Here you will have a legal, internationally recognized and respected — the ICJ is a respected body— you will have a legal basis for this denomination, and that may have a serious ripple effect on Israel’s diplomatic standing.”

Saying the decision could alter Israel’s image internationally, Shek added that depending on the decision it could bear consequences on international corporations investing in Israel, or even sanctions.

Whatever the final outcome, the vote again demonstrates that the UN General Assembly remains one of the happiest hunting grounds for Palestinian diplomatic achievements.

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