by: Kate Norman
Wednesday, 18 January 2023 | More than 90 countries on Monday called for Israel to reverse sanctions and punitive measures it had levied against the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to the PA’s push to have the International Court of Justice (ICJ) investigate Israel.
Last month, the PA pushed the ICJ to issue an advisory opinion on the legality of the Israeli “occupation” of Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), Gaza and eastern Jerusalem. The resolution was passed by a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) vote of 87 to 16, with 53 abstentions.
In response, Jerusalem issued punitive measures against the PA. Israel deducted money from taxes it collects on the PA’s behalf, an amount equivalent to the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy in which it financially rewards terrorists and their families. Instead, Israel took NIS 139 million (US $40.1 million) and channeled it to Israeli victims of terror.
Jerusalem also halted all Palestinian building projects in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which is under Israeli military and civilian control. Israel also penalized PA officials by denying certain benefits, such as the travel permit for the PA foreign minister.
Rather than entering into peace talks with the Jewish state to settle the conflict, the PA has been waging battle in the international arena, often wielding the UN as a sword against Jerusalem.
Israel’s response did not sit well with the international community, however, according to the statement on Monday by over 90 nations.
“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 statement reads.
“Regardless of each country’s opinion on the resolution, we reject punitive measures in response to a request for an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice, and more broadly in response to a General Assembly resolution, and call for their immediate removal,” the letter concluded.
The 90 signatory states included 24 of the 27 European Union states—with the only absentees being Austria, Croatia and Hungary—as well as 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea.
A few countries who either opposed or abstained from the original UNGA resolution to seek the ICJ’s opinion also signed their name to Monday’s statement. Those who originally opposed the measure but signed the letter calling for Israel to reverse its punitive measures include Estonia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and Romania.
Israel condemned the letter. “The Palestinians use political terrorism and try to take advantage of the distorted mechanism of the UN to harm Israel,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan wrote on Twitter, “but this is a meaningless statement and every country that signed it made a mistake because it played into the hands of the Palestinian incitement and only removed any chance of reconciliation.”
Posted on January 18, 2023
Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 18, 2022)
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