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UN discusses Palestinian ICC request about legitimacy of Israeli occupation

Exterior view of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [Ant Palmer/Getty Images]
Exterior view of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [Ant Palmer/Getty Images]

The UN General Assembly will today discuss a Palestinian proposal to ask the International Criminal Court in The Hague to determine the legitimacy of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem. According to Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel has expressed its concerns about the consequences of the proposal and discussions within the UN, as it is likely that the proposal will be accepted and the opinion presented by the court in a year or two.

The draft resolution requests that the ICC should issue an advisory opinion, outlining the legal consequences arising from Israel's continued violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, its long-term occupation, settlements and annexation of land, and its adoption of discriminatory legislation and measures.

The newspaper quoted international law and human rights expert Michael Seyfried as telling journalists that if it is decided that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid in the West Bank, this will have serious consequences, and the ICC Prosecutor will investigate Israel. Major human rights organisations have already determined that Israel is imposing apartheid on the Palestinians, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B'Tselem.

Prior to the UN discussions and voting process, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is trying to convince countries to oppose the resolution or to abstain from the vote. However, it is believed that the resolution will have sufficient votes in order to be passed by the General Assembly. Most nation states support the Palestinians at the UN. When the resolution was given approval by the Fourth Committee of the UN in early November, 98 countries voted in favour, 17 opposed it, and 52 abstained.

Another vote is scheduled for next week in the General Assembly on the same resolution before it is transferred to the ICC. The assembly tends to approve the decisions of its various committees at the end of November or the beginning of December, when the committees present their reports and recommendations.

Israel opposes any intervention by the UN or international institutions, especially legal bodies, in its conflict with the Palestinians.

READ: AOHR files complaint at ICC about attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque

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