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UN agrees to ask ICJ opinion on Israel's West Bank occupation 

Voting held at United Nations Security Council in New York, USA on January 10, 2020 [Tayfun Coşkun/Anadolu Agency]
Voting held at United Nations Security Council in New York, USA on January 10, 2020 [Tayfun Coşkun/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations (UN) voted on Friday in favour of getting a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank.

Nicaragua submitted the motion on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which does not have full UN membership.

The motion passed with 98 votes in favour, 17 against and 52 abstentions. The US, Israel, Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy and Germany were among the countries to oppose the motion. The UK abstained.

ICC ruling brings hope for Palestine, dismay for Israel - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

ICC ruling brings hope for Palestine, dismay for Israel – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

In the motion, the PA asked the ICJ to consider that the "Israeli occupation" of the Palestinian West Bank constitutes annexation due to its continuous nature.

"The Palestinian proposal is part of an anti-Israeli campaign infected with anti-Semitism that aims to undermine Israel's legitimacy and its right to self-defence," Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan stated when the motion was proposed.

He added: "[PA President Mahmoud] Abbas is once again acting destructively, in a way that will only harm the Palestinians themselves. We will make it clear to every country that supporting this move is a price for terrorist organisations and will only perpetuate the conflict."

Meanwhile, US representative Richard Mills expressed "serious concerns" about the resolution, saying it would "magnify distrust" surrounding the conflict: "There are no shortcuts to a two-state solution." Mills claimed that the reference to Al-Aqsa Mosque in the motion was "intended to denigrate Israel."

The Palestinian delegation to the UN asserted: "Our people deserve freedom. Our people are entitled to freedom."

OPINION: US complicity with Israel will enhance any future annexation plans

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