The UN General Assembly Friday asked its highest judicial authority, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to provide an opinion on the legality of Israeli settlements located on Palestinian territory. The General Assembly passed the resolution by a vote of 87 to 26 with 53 abstentions. The ICJ is expected to consider Israel’s occupation and settlement of Palestinian land as well as the adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.
The resolution condemned the settlement activities of Israel as “violations of international humanity law,” “steadily eroding the two-state solution” and “undermin[ing] the prospect of peace” in the region. The Special Political and Decolonisation Committee of the UN expressed “grave concern” at the continued illegal activities of Israel, including the conflicts in and around the Gaza Strip and a lack of respect for principles of international humanitarian law.
Speaking after the vote, Palestine’s Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour thanked the delegations that voted in favour of the resolution. He noted that the vote came one day after a new Israeli government was formed that “pledg[ed] to accelerate colonial and racist policies against the Palestine people.”
Israel took control of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in 1967. The international community, reflected in the General Assembly’s vote, widely considers the settlement to be illegal. The ICJ previously ruled that “the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law” in 2004.