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Israel claims 'Palestinian hypocrisy' in new UN resolution allowing ICJ opinion

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Eli Cohen claimed on Monday that the UN resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the West Bank only makes resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict harder. 

Addressing his staff in Jerusalem for the first time on Monday, Israel’s new Foreign Minister Eli Cohen attacked the resolution adopted by the United Nations last Friday night, requesting that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli “annexation” and the “legal status of the occupation.” 

The resolution which was approved by 87 votes, opposed by 26 why 53 abstained was decried by Cohen as “Palestinian hypocrisy."

The ICJ is the top UN court for mediating disputes between countries. Its rulings are binding, though the court has no mechanism to enforce them. Spokesperson of Palestinian presidency Nabil Abu Rudeineh saw the vote as a path to accountability.

"The time has come for Israel to be a state subject to law, and to be held accountable for its ongoing crimes against our people," he said on Saturday.


But Cohen criticized the move as something that will hurt the peace process. 

“The Palestinians have rejected every single peace agreement offered to them. Palestinian attempts to harm Israel will cost them and will distance resolution of the conflict," he said. The Palestinian Authority has rejected these accusations and blamed Israel's ongoing occupation and settlement expansion as fueling the conflict. 

Cohen also attacked the Palestinian Authority for paying stipends to families of assailants imprisoned in Israel.

“The one who should really stand trial is the Palestinian leadership, which is the only place in the world that rewards those who murder Jews simply because they are Jews," he said accusing the PA of incitement.  

As the UN resolution was voted on after the Sabbath began, the Israeli delegation was not able to be present during the vote or to react to it in real time. Tweeting a few hours before the Sabbath commenced, Israel’s ambassador to the body Gilad Erdan accused the United Nations of deliberately scheduling the vote so that Israel wouldn’t be present and said, “The Palestinians have rejected every peace initiative but instead of pushing them to change, the UN is helping them to harm the only vibrant democracy in the Middle East. Absurd!’’ 

Reacting later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will not adhere to the resolution.

“Israel’s government under my leadership will not be bound by this despicable resolution of the UN. Israel would not be bound by the resolution. The Jewish nation is not an occupier in its own land and its own eternal capital, Jerusalem. No UN decision can distort the historical facts.” 

Netanyahu also pointed that that he has recently spoken with several world leaders in an effort to sway their countries’ votes, as did President Isaac Herzog, Erdan and other Israeli diplomats. According to Netanyahu, 11 countries changed the way they voted compared to a previous vote last November on a similar proposal. They included Croatia, Romania, Kenya and Togo, which opposed; Greece, which abstained; and Chad, which did not participate in the vote. Sierra Leone was apparently the only country that decided to support the resolution despite Netanyahu’s direct efforts.  

A senior Ukrainian official told the Israeli press that Netanyahu also spoke before the vote with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, asking for Kyiv to oppose the resolution. As a gesture of goodwill, Zelenskyy decided that Ukraine would abstain from the vote, noted the unnamed official.  

Today Netanyahu blamed the former government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid for the UN resolution, stating that it was only after he took office “did we succeed in swaying some countries to vote in our favor.” 

Israeli media reports that the new government has not decided for the moment how to address the ICJ and could decline outright to cooperate with it.

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