The United Nations General Assembly has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to provide a decision on the legal implications of Israel's unlawful job of Palestinian territory.
The General Assembly approved the resolution 87 to 26 with 53 abstentions. The Islamic world, including Arab states that had normalized relations with Israel, strongly backed it while Western nations were split. Russia and China both voted in support of the proposal.
Israel, the US, France, and 24 other members, including the UK and Germany, were among the 53 nations that did not vote.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has its headquarters in The Hague and is commonly referred to as the World Court, is the highest UN institution that handles international disputes. Although it lacks the jurisdiction to do so, the ICJ's rulings are binding.
Leading Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh stated in a statement on Saturday that the choice "reflects the achievements of Palestinian diplomacy."
According to Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, "the time has come for Israel to be a state subject to the law and to be held accountable for its continuous crimes against our people."
The vote was held the day after a new Israeli government was put in place, which, according to Riyad Mansour, has threatened to continue "colonial and racist policies" against Palestinians and has vowed to build more illegal Jewish settlements. He also commended the nations who backed the resolution and weren't "deterred by threats and coercion."
The UN General Assembly requested an advisory opinion from the ICJ regarding the legal ramifications of Israel's "occupation, settlement, and annexation" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as its "adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures," which included initiatives to alter the demographic make-up, character, and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.
The UN resolution also asks the ICJ to weigh in on how these actions "affect the legal status of the occupation" and what consequences this has for all countries and the UN in terms of international law.
In its most recent analysis of the Israeli occupation, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated that Israel's wall in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem was illegal. Israel contested the judgment and accused the court of political prejudice.
"No international body has the power to designate the Jews to be 'occupiers' in their homeland. Before the vote, Israel's UN representative, Gilad Erdan, said that "any judgment from a judicial body which receives its power from the morally bankrupt and political UN is void."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the UN decision as "despicable" on Saturday.
No UN resolution, he said in a video address, "can pervert that historical truth" or the assertion that "the Jewish people are neither invaders of their nation nor occupiers of our everlasting capital Jerusalem."
During the battle in June 1967, Israel took control of all of historic Palestine, displacing 300,000 Palestinians. Israel also seized control of the Syrian Golan Heights in the north and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in the south. After Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1978, Israel evacuated Egyptian territory.
The Israeli military has controlled the occupied Palestinian area since 1967. As a consequence, it has the longest occupancy in contemporary history. Among the regions that have been partitioned are Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
We do not believe that a referral to the International Court of Justice is constructive in bringing the parties back to dialogue, UK ambassador Thomas Phipps said in reaction to the UN resolution.
According to the UK, it is inappropriate to get a court advisory opinion in a bilateral dispute without the consent of both parties.
One of the Western nations that backed the resolution was Portugal, whose ambassador acknowledged the "risk of over-judicializing international relations" but said that the international court "underpins the international rules-based system that we seek to retain."