By Associated Press
A key UN committee approved a draft resolution Friday calling on the International Court of Justice to urgently issue its opinion on the legal consequences of allegedly denying the Palestinian people the right to self-determination.
The measure was vehemently opposed by Israel, which argued it would destroy any chance of reconciliation with the Palestinians.
The vote in the General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee was 98-17, with 52 abstentions. The resolution will now go to the 193-member assembly for a final vote before the end of the year, when it is virtually certain of approval.
The draft claims Israel has violated Palestinian rights to self-determination “from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”
It would ask the court for an opinion on how these Israeli policies and practices “affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all states and the United Nations from this status.”The call for a new opinion was one of six Palestinian-related resolutions approved by the committee on Friday.
The court’s opinions are non-binding.
Before the vote, Israel’s UN. Ambassador Gilad Erdan told UN member nations they had a choice on whether to support negotiations or “to be an accomplice in destroying any hope for reconciliation” and perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He warned that “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.”
“By coopting the court,” Erdan said, “the Palestinians are given the perfect excuse to continue boycotting the negotiating table to perpetuate the conflict.”
After the vote, the Palestinian UN ambassador, Riyad Mansour, expressed gratitude to member states that approved all six resolutions and cited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the annual General Assembly in September that urged for the mobilizing of “all the components of our international law-based order, including international justice.”
Mansour thanked the countries that supported the resolution and said that “nothing justifies standing with Israeli occupation and annexation, its displacement and dispossession of our people.”
“Our people are entitled to freedom,” he said. “This occupation will need to end.”
“There will come a day, a day when our people will bring the flag of Palestine over the churches of Jerusalem and to the mosques of Jerusalem and Haram al-Sharif,” Mansour added, referring to the Muslim name for the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third-holiest, after Mecca and Medina.