Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories: U.N. asks World Court to give opinion

U.N. asks World Court to give opinion on Israel's occupation

The U.N. on Friday asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to give an opinion on the legal impacts of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian regions.

Israel grabbed the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem – areas the Palestinians wanted for a state – in a 1967 war. It withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but, along with neighboring Egypt, controls the enclave’s borders.

The Hague-based ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the top UU.N.court dealing with state disputes. Its rulings are binding, though the ICJ cannot enforce them.

The request for a court opinion on Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories was made in a resolution adopted by the General Assembly with 87 votes in favor. Israel, the United States, and 24 other members voted against it, while 53 abstained.

“No international body can decide that the Jewish people are ‘occupiers’ in their homeland. Any decision from a judicial body which receives its mandate from the morally bankrupt and politicized completely illegitimate,” Israel’s UU.N.Ambassador Gilad Erdan said in a statement ahead of the vote.

Israel’s former Prime Minister Yair Lapid – who was replaced on Thursday by Benjamin Netanyahu – last month urged world leaders to oppose the move, saying that bringing the matter to the court would “only play into the hands of extremists.”

Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 after a brief civil war with more moderate Palestinian rivals. Hamas and Israel have since fought three Gaza wars.

Palestinian U.N.envoy Riyad Mansour noted that the vote came one day after the swearing-in of a new hard-right Israeli government that promises to expand Jewish settlements and pursue other policies criticized at home and abroad.

“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 and you will stand up to this Israeli government right now,” Mansour told the General Assembly.

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