- UN asks World Court to give opinion on Israel's occupation.
- Israel PM says Israel not bound by ‘despicable' UN vote.
- Palestinians welcome UN vote as ‘victory'.
JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said a United Nations General Assembly vote asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to provide an opinion on Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories was “despicable.”
“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,” he said in a video message.
The Hague-based ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the top UN court dealing with disputes between states. Its rulings are binding, though the ICJ has no power to enforce them.
The UN General Assembly asked the ICJ to give an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel's “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”
The new Israeli government has pledged to strengthen its settlements in the West Bank but Netanyahu has given no indication of any imminent steps toward annexing them.
Palestinians welcome UN vote as ‘victory'
The Palestinians on Saturday welcomed a vote by the United Nations General Assembly requesting that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) provide an opinion on the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The vote on Friday nonetheless presents a challenge for Israel's incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took office on Thursday at the head of a hard-right government that includes parties who advocate for occupied West Bank lands to be annexed.
Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem — areas the Palestinians want for a state — in a 1967 war. Peace talks broke down in 2014.
“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,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said.