The United Nations rewake the Question of Palestine seeking the intervention of the ICJ on the Israeli occupation policies

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On 31 December 2022 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to assess the legal consequences of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The document relies on the “right of Palestinians to self-determination repeatedly violated” by Israel on suspicion of “altering the demographic composition, character and status” of Jerusalem.

The Question of Palestine is once again on the agenda of the UN General Assembly and its subsidiary organs, such as the Human Rights Council, for the evaluation of the Israeli practices affecting the human rights in the “Occupied Palestine Territories (hereinafter: OPT), including East Jerusalem. 

The roots of the Israeli occupation pre-date the UN mandate which led to the creation of Israel in 1948. Since then, the conflict has seen many evolutions and impasses, involving Countries all over the world, influencing the global geopolitical balance and affecting the international relationships among the Western Countries by calling their representatives to endorse one side or the other. 

The element that can be recognized as constant in the conflict is surely the violence that continues to drown any hope of negotiable peace and involves both sides with millions of Palestinians forced to abandon their homes and killed on suspicion of terrorism on one hand, and hundreds of suicide attack carried out by armed groups of civilians against the Israeli military and civilians over the last decade.

In 2022 the Question of Palestine seemed to have moved into the background because of the uprising of new conflicts and crisis that threatened global security, such as the war in Ukraine, t the riots against the Iranian Islamic Regime,Covid-19, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

This impasse was dissolved during the very last days of the previous year, through the adoption of the Resolution 77/247 of the UN General Assembly on the “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” that represent the result of a series of resolutions adopted in the last years.

The document relies on several sources of international law, recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 2 Covenants, affirming that these instruments must be respected by Israel in the OPT.

From the historical perspective, this Resolution can be considered an enormous step forward for the self-determination process of Palestinians and it could represent another important proof of the recognition of Palestine as a State, considering the fulfillment of the requirements of people and territory[1], such the Resolution 67/19 of 2012 through which it was upgraded to non-member observer status in the UN General Assembly. 

On the other hand, it could easily represent the umpteenth attempt to focus international attention on the conflict aimed to underline the position taken in its regards by the International Community rather than promote an intervention for a peaceful resolution. 

The status of non-member observing State recognizes Palestinian delegations the power to participate in the discussions of the General Assembly but does not allow them to appeal to the ICJ, since the recognition as State is still one of the most debated issues of international law because of the lack of the effectiveness and independence requirements.[2]

For this reason the Resolution 77/247 seeks, in accordance to Article 96 of UN Charter, an Advisory Opinion by the ICJ on the legal consequences of the Israeli policies carried out in the OPT and the question about their legitimacy under international law. 

The impact on the geopolitical balance.  

UN asks world court to weigh in on Israeli 'occupation' and 'annexation' |  The Times of Israel
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With 87 votes in favour, 26 against and 53 abstentions, the Western nations were divided while the Arab world showed unanimous support, even from countris whith whom Israel had more or less consolidated consolidated diplomatic relations. Israel, USA and 24 other members, including the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany, voted against the resolution, while France was among the 53 nations that abstained. 

Those votes depict the modern positions of the UN Member States on the Question of Palestine and definitely represent a hard strike to the recently reaffirmed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose decisions regarding the intensification or distancing of diplomatic relations on the basis of this votes will be seen in the next months. 

The humanitarian concerns got ahead the factionalism.

 The material scope of the Resolution is the cease of all measures contrary to international law that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the killing and injury of civilians, the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians, the destruction and confiscation of civilian property, including any obstruction of humanitarian assistance while requesting the Member States to continue to provide emergency assistance for the continuing health crisis in the Gaza Strip, by ensuring the provision of adequate infrastructure, medical supplies and equipment.

Condemns all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction and demands that Israel, named as “Occupying Power”, comply with its legal obligations under international law and immediately cease the construction of the wall in the OPT, relying on Resolutions ES-10/15 and ES-10/13.

Outside the Crystal Palace of New York and the geopolitical panorama, the deep concern for the humanitarian emergency remains the critical issue.  

As reported by @eye.on.palestine 30 Palestinians were killed as consequences of actions by Israeli military forces since the beginning of 2023 and about 7000 detained in 2022, including about 882 minors. numbers also confirmed by theCommission of Detainees Affairs,


[1] C. Focarelli, “International Law”, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019, pp. 40-43

[2] C. Focarelli, “International Law”, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019, pp. 43- 50

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