UN Member States have condemned Israel’s sanctions against the Palestinian Authority (PA) and called for the immediate reversal of punitive measures that were introduced by the far-right government of the Occupation state earlier this month. More than 90 countries backed a resolution expressing “deep concern”, while also castigating Israel for measures intended to punish the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society in response to a decision by the world body to request an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The 193-member General Assembly voted 87-26, with 53 abstentions, on December 30 in favour of the resolution seeking ICJ opinion on Israel’s Occupation of Palestine. The resolution, which was promoted by the Palestinians along with several other member states, called on the ICJ to determine the “legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” as well as of its measures “aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status” of the holy city of Jerusalem.
Israel reacted with a package of sanctions against the Palestinians, sparking condemnation from the US, and now the UN including Germany who, despite voting against the initial UN resolution to refer the question of Israel’s Occupation to the ICJ, was among four European Union states to back yesterday’s statement calling for “their immediate reversal”.
“What is amazing about that statement,” said Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, “is that it was signed by some countries that abstained or voted against the resolution referring the question to the court”. Mansour highlighted Israel’s isolation within the international community, and commented on why European states like Germany voted in favour.
“But to punish people for going to the General Assembly in an adoption of a resolution is something else,” Mansour continued. “That’s why they stood with us and opposed this policy of the Israeli government, and they are demanding a reversal of this decision,” he added. The Palestinian envoy explained that “any country that believes in multilateralism and is committed to the international-law based order cannot but oppose such punitive measures that target and affect the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society”.
Mansour believes that more countries will support the statement when the Security Council holds its monthly meeting on the Middle East today, where it will focus on the decades-old Israeli Occupation of Palestine.