Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday called a vote by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to refer Israeli occupation to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) a “disgraceful resolution.”
Prior to the vote, Israel Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the resolution “outrageous, and a moral stain on the UN” and said, “no international body can decide that the Jewish people are occupiers in their own homeland.” He continued, “any decision from a judicial body which receives its mandate from the morally bankrupt and politicized UN is completely illegitimate.” Erdan argued that, while Israel has gone on to sign peace treaties with other Arab nations this year, Palestinian leadership continuously rejects every peace initiative, and encourages terrorism against Israel, and that the UN is aiding Palestinian leadership in harming the only democracy in the Middle East.
Countries that voted against the resolution along with Israel include the US, Canada, Italy, Germany, Austria and 20 others. Eighty-seven UN Member States voted yes and 26 no, with 53 abstentions and 27 absent. Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen tweeted in a thread that the passing of the resolution “is an anti-Israeli decision that lends support to terrorist organizations & the antisemitic BDS movement.” He further reflected that the initiative represents errors in Palestinian leadership—that they are far more focused on harming Israel by sponsoring and supporting terrorism than they are of working for the benefit of the Palestinian people. Cohen added that “this decision will not change the situation on the ground,” and that the passing of this resolution harms the peace process.
UNWatch, a non-governmental organization whose stated mission is to monitor the UN and promote human rights, noted that of the 28 UNGA resolutions passed in 2022, 15 were targeted at Israel. The others were resolutions on Iran, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, the US and Russia. No resolutions were passed in 2022 condemning China, Qatar, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey or other nations considered to be human rights violators. Head of UNWatch and former Israel ambassador to the UN Hillel Neuer said the resolution “ignores Jewish and Christian history by calling the Temple Mount only by its Islamic name.”
In October a UN Commission of Inquiry found that “Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory is unlawful under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli government’s de facto annexation policies.” A draft of the resolution was approved by the fourth committee in November with a vote of 98 yes, 17 no and 52 abstentions. The plenary vote Friday yielded a different count but passed nonetheless.