The United Nations General Assembly voted, on Saturday, in favor of a resolution requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the nature of the Israeli occupation and the legal consequences of the occupation of Palestinian lands.
A majority of 87 countries voted in favor of the resolution submitted by Palestine, while Israel, the United States and 24 other members voted against the resolution, while 53 members abstained.
The United Nations General Assembly said in a statement posted on its website that it had adopted a resolution requesting the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion “concerning the implications of Israel’s continued violations of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”
She added that she had decided to ask the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on two issues:
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The first: “What are the legal implications arising from Israel’s continued violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, its long-term occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at changing the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and its adoption discriminatory legislation and measures in this regard?
Regarding the second issue: “How do Israel’s policies and practices referred to (…) affect the legal status of the occupation and what are the legal implications of this situation for all countries and the United Nations?”
The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit, at its seventy-eighth session, a report on the implementation of this resolution.
The General Assembly also expressed its “grave concern at Israel, the occupying Power,’s persistence in systematically violating the human rights of the Palestinian people.”
It condemned “the practice of withholding the bodies of those killed (by Israeli army bullets)” and called for their release and return to their relatives.
It noted “the need to prevent all acts of violence, harassment, provocation and incitement perpetrated by extremist Israeli settlers and armed settler groups, especially against Palestinian civilians, including children.”
For his part, the permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, expressed his thanks to the delegations that supported the draft resolution, according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.
He added, “We are confident that you will support the court’s fatwa when it is issued, if you believe in international legitimacy and international law.”
For his part, Omar Awadallah, Advisor to the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs for the United Nations and International Organizations, said that the importance of the positive vote lies in requesting a legal advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, as it is the most important international judicial body.
Awad Allah added, in a statement to the Anadolu Agency, that based on the Palestinian request, “the duties of states and the United Nations will be determined to end and confront this illegal phenomenon (the occupation).”
And about the next step after the vote, Awad told the Voice of Palestine (governmental) radio station that the Secretary-General of the United Nations will send the question set by Palestine in its decision to the International Court of Justice.
He added that the court will, in turn, set the necessary program for the implementation of this decision. months to a year or a year and a half.”
The Hague-based International Court of Justice is the highest UN court dealing with disputes between states, and its rulings are binding but it has no enforcement power.
In turn, the Palestinian presidency welcomed the vote, according to what was reported by the official Palestinian News Agency.
“This vote is evidence that the whole world stands by the Palestinian people and their inalienable historical rights,” said presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.
He added, “President Mahmoud Abbas thanks all the countries that stood by the Palestinian right, and all the parties that worked to make this resolution a success.”
For its part, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates described the event in a statement as “a Palestinian and international diplomatic, legal and international victory and achievement (…) that will open a new era for Israel’s accountability.”
She added, “Despite Israel’s failed attempts, a comprehensive vote in the United Nations on Palestine’s request for a legal advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice.”
The ministry also expressed its disapproval of all the miserable attempts to change the vote of countries, especially the attempts of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Palestine had previously requested a vote on a similar decision, when it asked the International Court of Justice in 2004 for an advisory opinion regarding the construction of the separation wall between Israel and the occupied territories.
On November 11, the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on political issues and decolonization adopted a Palestinian resolution “to request a legal advisory opinion and an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, on the nature of the Israeli occupation.”