More than 90 countries urge Israel to lift sanctions against Palestinians after UN vote

NEW YORK — More than 90 countries called on Israel Monday to reverse moves against the Palestinian Authority over its push for an investigation into Israel at the United Nations.

Late last month, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution promoted by the Palestinians asking the International Court of Justice to rule on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israeli “annexation” and the “legal status of the occupation.”

After the resolution was passed, Israel decided, among other things, to deduct funds from the Palestinian Authority to benefit Israeli terror victims, revoked the PA foreign minister’s special travel permit and, among other things, denied benefits to certain Palestinian officials.

The statement released Monday was signed by representatives of Arab countries and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation and 37 other countries — 27 of them from Europe, including Germany, France and Italy, as well as Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and South Korea. -Africa.

“Regardless of each country’s position on the resolution, we reject punitive action in response to a request for advice from the International Court of Justice, and more generally in response to a General Assembly resolution, and call for immediate reversal of it,” the statement said. letter said.

Germany’s UN mission said countries have divergent positions on last month’s resolution, but “agree on the rejection of punitive measures in response to the resolution”.

“Seeking advice from the ICJ cannot and should not be grounds for punitive action. For everyone. Always,” said Denmark’s UN mission.

France and Belgium issued post-signature statements reaffirming their commitment to “international law and multilateralism”.

Also Monday, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he “notes with deep concern the recent Israeli actions against the Palestinian Authority” and that there should be “no retaliation regarding the Palestinian Authority in relation to the International Court of Justice”. .”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, speaks next to Hayashi Yoshimasa, Japan’s Foreign Minister, at a Security Council meeting at United Nations Headquarters on Jan. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The 193-member General Assembly voted 87 to 26 with 53 abstentions on December 30 to pass the ICJ resolution.

Retaliatory measures approved by the Israeli government included seizing $39 million in tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the PA and channeling it to Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism; deduct from revenues to offset payments the PA makes to Palestinian terrorists, attackers, security prisoners and their families; freezing of Palestinian construction in much of the West Bank; and canceling some Palestinian VIP benefits.

The move highlighted the new government’s hard line on the Palestinians, at a time of peak violence in the West Bank and with peace talks a distant memory.

The resolution calling for the investigation is titled “Israeli Practices and Settlement Activities Affecting the Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories” and calls on the Hague-based ICJ to “give urgent advice” about Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

It also calls for an investigation into Israeli measures “aimed at changing the demographic composition, character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem” and says Israel has adopted “discriminatory legislation and measures”.

A UN General Assembly vote on December 30, 2022 on a resolution requesting the International Court of Justice to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Screenshot/UN)

The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the highest UN court for mediating disputes between countries. Its rulings carry legal weight and influence public opinion, but it has no mechanism for enforcement. The court is separate from the International Criminal Court, which is also located in The Hague.

The court last issued an advisory opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2004, when the General Assembly asked it to rule on the legality of the security barrier Israel had built along much of the West Bank.

Israel dismissed last month’s resolution as biased and dismissive of Israeli security concerns.

Israel’s UN envoy Gilad Erdan condemned the text for referring to the Temple Mount by only its Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif. The Temple Mount is the holiest site for Jews as the site of the ancient temples, and the third holiest site in Islam as the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Erdan also criticized the UN for holding the vote after the start of Shabbos.

The Palestinians hailed the resolution as a “diplomatic victory”.

Riyad Mansour, Palestinian representative to the United Nations, speaks at a meeting of the Security Council at United Nations headquarters, Jan. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Temple Mount was also the focus of a heated emergency session of the Security Council earlier this month, which was convened after National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir visited the site of the focal point.

The Security Council will hold another hearing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday morning.

The UN has a long history of passing resolutions against Israel, and Israel and the US accuse it of bias. Israel has accused the Palestinians, who have non-member observer status at the UN, of trying to use the world body to evade peace negotiations and impose a settlement.

Last year, the General Assembly passed more resolutions critical of Israel than all other nations combined.

In addition to resolutions, there are open-ended investigations against Israel conducted by a UN Commission of Inquiry and by a Special Rapporteur, the only country subject to such an investigation. Members of both investigations are known to have made anti-Semitic statements, but have not faced UN repercussions for their comments.

You are a devoted reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel a decade ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we do not have a paywall. But since the journalism we do is precious, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel community.

For just $6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel ADVERTISING FREEas well as access exclusive content only available to members of the Times of Israel Community.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, founder and editor of The Times of Israel

Join our community Join our community Already a member? Log in to stop seeing this

Leave a Comment