Israel abstains in UN call for Russia to make reparations to Ukraine

Israel voted with Ukraine and against Russia in every other UN vote since the start of the war.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks to delegates before a vote on a resolution recognizing Russia must be responsible for reparation in Ukraine at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, US, November 14, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)
Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks to delegates before a vote on a resolution recognizing Russia must be responsible for reparation in Ukraine at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, US, November 14, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)

Israel abstained in a UN General Assembly vote on Russian reparations for Ukraine on Monday, less than a week after Ukraine voted with the Palestinians on a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to consider whether Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank should be viewed as illegal annexation.

The UN resolution, supported by 94 of the assembly’s 193 members, said Russia, which invaded its neighbor in February, "must bear the legal consequences of all of its internationally wrongful acts, including making reparation for the injury, including any damage, caused by such acts."

Israel was one of 74 countries that abstained; 13 opposed.

Israel voted with Ukraine and against Russia in every other UN vote since the start of the war.

Diplomatic row over ICJ vote

In this case, an Israeli diplomatic source said that the abstention was due to concerns that the resolution would set a precedent for the Palestinians.

 The results of the vote on a resolution recognizing Russia must be responsible for reparation in Ukraine are seen on screen at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, US, November 14, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ) The results of the vote on a resolution recognizing Russia must be responsible for reparation in Ukraine are seen on screen at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, US, November 14, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)

The UNGA’s Fourth Committee voted 98-17, with Ukraine in favor, on Friday to ask the ICJ to consider whether the IDF’s ongoing presence in Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Golan can be considered de-facto annexation after 56 years. The resolution questions the status of Jerusalem, ignoring Jewish ties to its holiest site, the Temple Mount, and referring to it only as al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). It must be approved in another, full UN General Assembly vote before it goes to The Hague.

The Foreign Ministry reprimanded Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk over the UN vote in a meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Deputy Director-General for Eurasia Simona Halperin and the head of the International Organizations Department Amir Weissbrod told Korniychuk that Israel is dismayed at Ukraine’s vote, which “does not reflect the relations between friendly states with shared values, especially in light of Israel’s support for Ukraine in various important UN decisions and extensive humanitarian aid,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

 “We would expect Ukraine to treat Israel in kind in the international arena. Israel expressed hope that the Ukrainian stance will change ahead of the UN General Assembly vote on the matter in December,” the statement reads.

Ukraine voted against Israel while continuing to ask Israel for military aid in public as well as diplomatic channels.

However, an Israeli diplomatic source said their issue is less with Kyiv’s requests for missile defense systems and more with the lack of reciprocity after Israel had voted against Russia and in favor of Ukraine in every vote since the war began.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s personal aide, Alexey Arestovych called the UN vote "a grave mistake" in an online video on Sunday, saying that it was "illogical and unacceptable," for his country to be on the same side as Russia and antagonizing Israel, which it wants on its side.

Russia reparation payments

Following Monday’s UNGA vote, Zelensky said that “the reparations that Russia will have to pay for what it has done are now part of the international legal reality.”

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the General Assembly before the vote that the provisions of the resolution are "legally null and void" as he urged countries to vote against it.

"The West is trying to draw out and worsen the conflict and plans to use Russian money for it," Nebenzia said.