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U.N. Votes to Seek International Court of Justice Legal Opinion About Israeli ‘Occupation’

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan: The decision gives Palestinians the ‘perfect excuse’ to continue boycotting the negotiating table.
A view of the U.N. General Assembly hall (Photo: Shutterstock)
A view of the U.N. General Assembly hall (Photo: Shutterstock)

Tal Heinrich | November 12, 2022

A United Nations committee voted on Friday in favor of seeking a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the “legal significance of the ongoing Israeli occupation” in the West Bank. 

The U.N. General Assembly voted 98-17 in favor of the motion, which Nicaragua brought forward at the Palestinian Authority’s request. 

During the vote, 52 countries chose to abstain, voting neither “for” nor “against.” While the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and Germany voted against the resolution; Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel’s Abraham Accords partners – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco – voted for it. 

The resolution urges the ICJ to provide an advisory opinion on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.” 

It also calls to investigate Israel’s activities beyond the pre-1967 lines, which, it claims, are “aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.” 

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan criticized the countries that backed the P.A.-initiated resolution.

“Every representative here today must ask themselves which side of history they want to be on. The side that supports negotiations and reconciliation, or the side that destroys any chance for these steps to occur?” Erdan said in the UNGA chamber.

Erdan stressed that “the Palestinians’ hypocrisy truly knows no limits.” 

He noted that the “only reason” the conflict has not been resolved is because of Palestinian “rejectionism” of past peace initiatives. 

“Involving a judicial organ in a decades-old conflict only to dictate one side’s demands on the other ensures many more years of stagnation. Yet it seems that this is precisely what the Palestinians want, seeing as they rejected every peace plan, including the U.N.’s partition plan in 1947,” Erdan said. “By co-opting the ICJ to impose a decision, the Palestinians are given the perfect excuse to continue boycotting the negotiating table to perpetuate the conflict.”

The resolution’s text refers to the Temple Mount, where Israel’s King Solomon built God’s Temple, by its Arabic name only – Haram al-Sharif – disassociating it from its biblical history. 

King Solomon, as “a man of rest” and not of war, would build God’s Temple and His courtyards, per God’s instructions to his father David (I Chron. 28:2-9). Nevertheless, to build the house of God, David would provide his son about $4 billion worth of silver and almost half a billion dollars worth of gold, as well as bronze and iron beyond measure. 

According to 1 Chronicles 22, “David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son” and said to them, “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.”

The Temple Mount remains the holiest place in Judaism, despite the destruction of the Temple – once in 586 BC.., by Nebuchadnezzar, and once in 70 A.D., by the Romans. Despite this, the UNGA resolution claims the Temple Mount compound as part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

“This is not an ignorant mistake, but another attempt to distort history and erase the bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem! We will never allow this to happen,” Erdan said. 

The Foreign Ministry of the Czech Republic, which voted against the resolution, posted its objection to social media, saying: “We will never accept denial of Jewish ties to Temple Mount.” 

U.S. public delegate to the UNGA Andrew Weinstein also objected, saying, “There are no shortcuts to a two-state solution, and there is certainly nothing in the package of resolutions before the Committee today that will advance peace or create the conditions for negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

“The failure in these resolutions to acknowledge the shared history of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, a site sacred to both Jews and Muslims, is perhaps the clearest demonstration that they are intended only to denigrate Israel, not to help achieve peace,” Weinstein added. 

The U.N. General Assembly plenary is expected to officially approve the resolution next month.

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