The Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article titled “Thanks to Putin, the World Is Suddenly Interested in Israel’s Occupation”, highlighting a new trend in the United Nations to put the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank under scrutiny.
“For the first time, the UN’s principal judicial organ was asked to give an opinion on the legality of Israel’s 55-year occupation of Palestinian territory – namely East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip,” the writer Victor Kattan introduced his article.
The United Nations’ Special Political and Decolonization Committee approved a nine-page draft resolution on Israeli practices and settlement activities affecting the rights of the Palestinian people to request a second advisory opinion – comprised of two questions – from the International Court of Justice, the article added.
The first question queries the legal consequences arising from Israeli ongoing violation of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, given the Zionist entity’s prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem, according to the article which added that the second question asks about the affect these policies have on the legal status of the occupation and the legal consequences that arise for all states and the UN from that status.
“It is important to note that the question has not yet been referred to the court. There will be a second vote at a plenary session of the UN General Assembly in December.”
“Decisions requesting advisory opinions from the ICJ require a simple majority of UN members ‘present and voting,’ which means that in order to stop it, Israel would have to persuade more than 40 states to vote against the request. This is a tall order for any foreign ministry, if not unattainable.”
The article noted that Kyiv’s vote reportedly upset Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, who called it “disappointing”, adding that the question being posed to the ICJ is significant for Ukraine in light of the developments of the war with Russia and that Moscow also voted in favor of the resolution.
“It is by no means clear that the judges will agree on an answer to the two questions that are being proposed. Some judges hold the nationalities of the states that voted against the resolution, and may not be favorably inclined to answer the questions. We will have to wait and see what happens.”
Western governments may also find it harder not to put pressure on Israel to end the occupation, given the unprecedented sanctions they have imposed against Moscow for its invasion, occupation and annexation of large parts of Ukraine, the article concluded.