UN seeks court opinion on ‘violation’ of Palestinian rights

Dec 30, 2022, 2:23 AM | Updated: 4:38 pm
FILE - Palestinian Ambassador Riyad H. Mansour speaks during a meeting of the Special Political and...

FILE - Palestinian Ambassador Riyad H. Mansour speaks during a meeting of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee at United Nations headquarters on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. On Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, the U.N. General Assembly asked the U.N.'s highest judicial body to give its opinion on the legality of Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. Mansour thanked countries that backed the measure. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

(AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly has asked the U.N.’s highest judicial body to give its opinion on the legality of Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The Assembly voted by a wide margin, but with over 50 countries abstaining, on Friday evening to send one of the world’s longest-running and thorniest disputes to the International Court of Justice, a request promoted by the Palestinians and opposed vehemently by Israel.

While the court’s rulings are not binding, they influence international opinion. It last addressed the conflict in 2004, when the Assembly asked it to consider the legality of an Israeli-built separation barrier.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour thanked countries that backed the measure.

“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,” Mansour said, going on to urge countries to “stand up” to Israel’s new, hard-line government.

Israel didn’t speak at the Assembly, which voted during the Jewish Sabbath. In a written statement beforehand, Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the measure “outrageous,” the U.N. “morally bankrupt and politicized” and any potential decision from the court “completely illegitimate.”

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek all three areas for an independent state.

Israel considers the West Bank to be disputed territory and has built dozens of settlements that are now home to roughly 500,000 Jewish settlers.

It also has annexed east Jerusalem and considers the entire city to be its capital. An additional 200,000 Israelis live in settlements built in east Jerusalem that Israel considers to be neighborhoods of its capital. Palestinian residents of the city face systematic discrimination, making it difficult for them to build new homes or expand existing ones.

The international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements to be illegal. Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem, home to the city’s most sensitive holy sites, also is not internationally recognized.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Two years later, the Hamas militant group seized control of the territory from the forces of internationally recognized President Mahmoud Abbas.

Friday’s resolution asked the International Court of Justice, commonly known as the world court, to issue an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of

It also asked the court to look at the legal consequences of Israeli measures it said are “aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

And it asks for an opinion on how all Israeli policies affect the legal status of its occupation, “and what are the legal consequences that arise for all states and the United Nations from this status.”

The vote was 87-26, with 53 abstentions. It followed approvals of the draft resolution in the assembly’s budget committee earlier Friday and in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee on Nov. 11.

Israel carried out widespread behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts against the measure and decried the Assembly for voting after the Sabbath began Friday evening.

Ahead of the vote, outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid personally contacted about 60 world leaders while figurehead President Isaac Herzog spoke to many counterparts, according to an Israeli diplomatic official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing private diplomatic efforts.

The United Nations has a long history of passing resolutions critical of Israel, and Israel and the U.S. accuse the world body of being unfairly biased.

Israel has accused the Palestinians, who have nonmember observer state status at the United Nations, of trying to use the U.N. to circumvent peace negotiations and impose a settlement.

The Palestinians say that Israeli officials, especially incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are not serious about seeking peace as they continue to expand settlements on occupied lands. The last round of substantive peace talks broke down in 2009.

Before the Nov. 11 committee vote, Erdan told U.N. diplomats that approving the resolution would destroy “any hope for reconciliation” with the Palestinians and perpetuate the conflict.

He warned that involving the court “in a decades-old conflict only to dictate one side’s demands on the other ensures many more years of stagnation” and give the Palestinians “the perfect excuse to continue boycotting the negotiating table to perpetuate the conflict.”

After that committee vote, Mansour said “our people are entitled to freedom,” stressing that “nothing justifies standing with Israeli occupation and annexation, its displacement and dispossession of our people.”

The court is expected to solicit opinions from dozens of countries before issuing its opinion months from now. Israel has not said whether it will cooperate.

It is not the first time the world court has been asked to weigh in on the conflict.

In 2004, the court said that a separation barrier Israel built was “contrary to international law” and called on Israel to immediately halt construction.

Israel has said the barrier is a security measure meant to prevent Palestinian attackers from reaching Israeli cities. The Palestinians say the structure is an Israeli land grab because of its route through east Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank.

Israel has ignored the 2004 ruling, and Friday’s resolution demands that Israel comply with it, stop construction of the wall and dismantle it. It says Israel should also make reparations for all damage caused by the wall’s construction, “which has gravely impacted the human rights” and living conditions of Palestinians.

The request for the court’s advisory opinion is part of a wide-ranging resolution titled “Israeli practices and settlement activities affecting the rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories.”

___

Associated Press journalists Josef Federman in Jerusalem and Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Paul Njoroge, right, points to photos of his wife and three children that were killed in the 2019 c...
Associated Press

Boeing pleads not guilty in case over deadly Max crashes

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Boeing pleaded not guilty Thursday to a fraud charge in an unusual case in which families of passengers who died in two plane crashes are trying to throw out a settlement the company reached to avoid prosecution. At a hearing dominated by emotional, wrenching testimony from passengers’ relatives, a federal […]
13 hours ago
abortion Capital gains tax Olympia meeting legislature abortion...
Associated Press

Washington lawmakers hear testimony on 7 abortion bills

Abortion rights proposals have been front and center in Olympia, Washington, this week as state lawmakers heard hours of public testimony on seven proposals that would reinforce abortion access.
13 hours ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Justices weigh effort to balance Washington state’s tax code

SEATTLE (AP) — An effort to balance what is considered the nation’s most regressive state tax code came before the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday, with justices hearing arguments about whether they should overturn a prohibition on income taxes that dates to the 1930s. Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and […]
13 hours ago
FILE - A Bed Bath & Beyond sign is shown in Mountain View, Calif., May 9, 2012. Bed Bath & Beyond s...
Associated Press

Bed Bath & Beyond says it’s in default on its loans

NEW YORK (AP) — Bed Bath & Beyond said Thursday that it’s in default on its loans and doesn’t have sufficient funds to repay what it owes. The home goods chain said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the default would force it to consider alternatives including restructuring its debt in bankruptcy court. […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Fighting intensifies in eastern Congo, displacing hundreds

GOMA, Congo (AP) — Fighting intensified around a town in eastern Congo Thursday as a rebel group seeking to expand the territory it controls increased pressure on government troops defending it, forcing hundreds of civilians to flee their homes. By evening it was unclear who controlled Kitchanga in North Kivu province. Videos on social media […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Tesla, Chevron rise; Wolfspeed, Southwest fall

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Thursday: Tesla Inc., up $15.84 to $160.27. The electric vehicle maker’s profits surged in the fourth-quarter, beating Wall Street forecasts. Chevron Corp., up $8.71 to $187.79. The energy company raised its dividend and announced a $75 billion stock buyback program. Lam Research […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
UN seeks court opinion on ‘violation’ of Palestinian rights