Israel must rescind the sanctions it levied against the Palestinian Authority for seeking assistance from the world court, over 90 nations have declared in a signed statement.
“We express our deep concern regarding the Israeli government’s decision to impose punitive measures against the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society following the request by the General Assembly of an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice,” the nations said in the statement they signed.
They referenced the UN General Assembly vote to ask the ICJ to issue an advisory opinion on whether Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank was legal. The ICJ opinion will also cover Gaza, which is under Hamas control and east Jerusalem, to which Israel applied sovereignty in 1967.
The UN resolution passed with the support of only 87 nations out of the 193-member General Assembly. Only 16 countries voted against it and 53 abstained.
But some of those countries which opposed the vote or abstained, have argued that it is wrong for Israel to punish the PA over the vote.
Who did and didn't sign the text?
Among those that signed the text were 23 out of the 27 European Union nations. The only four EU countries that refrained from signing were Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Even countries that are enormously supportive of Israel in international forums such as Germany signed that statement.
“Regardless of each country’s position on the resolution, we rejected punitive measures in response to a request for an advisory opinion by the ICJ and more broadly in response to a General Assembly resolution and call for their immediate reversal,” the statement said.
“As member states of the UN, we reconfirm our unwavering support for the ICJ and international law as the cornerstone of our international order, as well as well as our commitment to multilateralism,” it added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also expressed his concerns over the sanctions imposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government which came into power at the end of last month, just as the UNGA vote was held.
One of its first steps was to deduct from the tax fees it collects on behalf of the PA a sum equal to the amount of money the PA spends on monthly stipends to terrorists and their families.
It also removed NIS 139 million from those fees and gave them to Israeli victims of Palestinian terror. Other steps included halting all Palestinian development in Area C of the West Bank, which is under IDF military and civilian control and the denial of PA VIP cards.
Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan dismissed the groundswell of global sentiment against the PA sanctions, explaining that the request for an ICJ advisory opinion was an act of “political terrorism” against the Jewish state.
“This is a meaningless declarative statement and every country that signed it only added fuel to the fire of Palestinian incitement and terror, and removed any chance of reconciliation.”