Member states that failed to vote on the resolution while condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine came under fire fir their double standards.
The United Nations is seeking the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) opinion on the legality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine following an overwhelming vote by member states on Friday.
Qatar was among the majority of countries that voted in favour of the resolution, which Palestinian officials described as a major victory for Palestine as the Israel continues its occupation without accountability.
A total of 24 countries, including Israel’s main ally the United States, voted against taking the case to the Hague as 53 others abstained.
Under the resolution, the UN requested the ICJ to provide an opinion on Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation” along with its measures in altering the demographic, character and status of Jerusalem.
Following the vote, Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour said the resolution also focused “on the violation of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination”.
“We are confident that you will support the Court’s advisory opinion when it is issued if you believe in international legitimacy and international law,” the Palestinian envoy said.
Commenting on the vote, Loureen Sayej, Diplomat and Legal Advisor at Palestine’s Mission to the UN, said the vote was “historic”.
“ICJ remains at the apex of the international legal order and the minimum necessary for its maintenance. The historic vote is an international affirmation of the rights of peoples to self-determination and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory,” Sayej tweeted.
While the ICJ’s rulings are binding, it does not hold power in passing them.
In 2004, the ICJ gave the UN an advisory opinion on “the legal consequences” from the construction of Israel’s illegal construction of the West Bank separation wall, under which the Zionist state annexed the Palestinian territory.
The ICJ had slammed the move and said it was “contrary to international law” as it destroyed and confiscated Palestinian property.
Despite the ruling, Israel continued to act with impunity while constructing more checkpoints, illegal barriers, and expanding its settlements while separating Palestinian families.
Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in a bloody war in 1967, widely known as “the six day war” and naksa, or “setback”. Within six days, the Zionist state captured the majority of Palestine while forcibly dispossessing at least 300,000 Palestinians.
Blow to Netanyahu
The vote dealt a major blow for the Benjamin Netanyahu government, which has vowed to further expand illegal Israeli settlements. Such a move which would see an alarming increase in the forced dispossession of Palestinians.
Palestinian Presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the latest UN vote “is evidence of the whole world’s support for our people and their inalienable historical rights.”
“The time has come for Israel to be a state under the law, and to be held accountable for its ongoing crimes against our people. The world must shoulder its responsibilities and implement the resolutions of international legitimacy, and everyone must stop the double standards,” Abu Rudeineh said.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh added that the resolution is of “exceptional importance in timing” given that it coincided with Netanyahu’s government’s first day in office.
“[Netanyahu’s government] threatens the Palestinian people with more violations of their legitimate rights, the continuation of the aggression on their land, infringement of their rights, property and resources, and the violation of the sanctity of their Islamic and Christian holy places,” Shtayyeh said.
Netanyahu described the vote as “despicable” while defending the occupying state’s illegal measures of forced expulsion to make way for a Jewish state.
“The Jewish people are not occupiers on their own land nor occupiers in our eternal capital Jerusalem and no UN resolution can warp that historical truth,” Netanyahu said in a video message.
On Friday, Qatar condemned Netanyahu’s plans “for settlement expansion, its continued attempts to Judaise Al Quds and Al Aqsa mosque”.
In a statement, Qatar’s foreign ministry said the Gulf state considers the move as “a severe violation of the UN Charter, international law principles, related UN resolutions, and a blatant assault on the rights of the brotherly Palestinian people.”
“The ministry reaffirms the State of Qatar’s firm position regarding the just Palestinian cause, the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and establishing an independent Palestinian state based on the borders of 1967 with East Al Quds as its capital,” the statement read.
Selective human rights
Countries that abstained or voted against the resolution were slammed for their double standards, given their different approach to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Besides the US, which pumps billions into Israel’s economy, the United Kingdom and Germany voted against the resolution.
“Shameful: Almost every Western gov that congratulated Netanyahu on forming Israel’s most far-right, racist, homophobic gov has abstained or voted against the UNGA resolution requesting the International Court of Justice’s opinion on the [illegality] of Israel’s occupation!” Muhammad Shehada, Chief of Comms at Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, said.
One social media user also said the vote exposed the western nations’ double standards when it comes to Palestine.
“Palestine has won the right of ICJ in the UN vote but has exposed the western nations like US, UK, Germany, Hungary, Romania and their double standards on Humans right for Ukraine but tried to deny the same for Palestinians. Western hypocrisy is exposed again,” the Twitter user said.
In March, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani stressed the need to equally address regional and international issues with “the same level of commitment.”
“We have never seen a global response to address those sufferings and we’ve been calling for setting a precedent in the region to address the brutality against the Syrian people, against the Palestinians, or against the Libyans, or against the Iraqis, or against the Afghans,” he told the Doha Forum.
In May, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said Palestine remains an “open wound” that needs to be equally addressed by the world, similar to the way in which Ukraine has captured hearts around the globe.
“Those families have been occupied for decades, with no relief in sight. The escalation, in illegal settlement aggression, has been relentless, and the same goes for the continual attacks against the Palestinian people,” the amir said, referring to Palestinians under Israeli occupation.