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Israeli envoy lashes Kyiv for backing UN panel call on ICJ to opine on ‘annexation’

Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky calls yes vote on resolution ‘disappointing,’ warns support for ‘anti-Israel initiatives’ will not help ‘build trust’ between countries

The UN General Assembly Fourth Committee votes on measures addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at UN headquarters in New York on Friday, November 11, 2022. (AP/Jeenah Moon)
The UN General Assembly Fourth Committee votes on measures addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at UN headquarters in New York on Friday, November 11, 2022. (AP/Jeenah Moon)

Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine lambasted Kyiv on Friday for its support of a resolution by a United Nations committee that calls on the International Court of Justice to “urgently” weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli “annexation.”

Ukraine was one of 98 countries that voted in favor of the resolution at the UN General Assembly Fourth Committee meeting in New York earlier Friday. Seventeen nations opposed the measure and 52 abstained. The committee, also called the Special Political and Decolonization panel, is one of six main committees of the UNGA.

The resolution, titled “Israeli practices and settlement activities affecting the rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories,” requests that the Hague-based ICJ “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory,” and appears to ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

Israeli envoy Michael Brodsky took to Twitter to voice his criticism of Ukraine and said its “support of the UN resolution ‘Israeli Practices’, denying Jewish ties to Temple Mount and calling for ICJ advisory opinion is extremely disappointing.”

“Supporting anti-Israeli initiatives in the UN doesn’t help to build trust between [Israel] and [Ukraine],” said the ambassador.

Ukraine has repeatedly requested military aid and equipment from Israel to fight off Russia’s assault on the country since late February. While providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Israel has maintained a strict policy of not providing military aid, including systems that could help it intercept Russian missile and drone attacks.

The reasoning behind the decision appears to be Israel’s strategic need to maintain freedom of operations in Syria, as part of its efforts to prevent Iranian entrenchment on its doorstep. To that end, Israel cooperates with the Russian military, which largely controls Syria’s airspace. Israeli officials have also expressed fear that advanced military technology could fall into enemy hands and cited production and supply limitations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier this month that with Iran’s involvement in the war, as a key supplier of deadly drones to Russia, he hoped Israel would change its stance.

The resolution passed Friday in the UN committee will now head to the General Assembly plenary for official approval, likely next month.

It was one of several focused on the conflict during the session and called for an investigation into Israeli measures “aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem” and says Israel has adopted “discriminatory legislation and measures.”

The resolution also calls on the court to weigh in on the conflict in accordance with international law and the UN charter. The court, a UN organ, is separate from the International Criminal Court, which is also in The Hague.

The United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee votes on measures addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at the United Nations in New York, November 11, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

The ICJ last issued an advisory opinion on the conflict in 2004.

The countries that voted against the resolution included Israel, Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, several Pacific island nations and the United States.

In addition to Ukraine, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates voted in favor.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan blasted the measure at the committee hearing, calling it part of a “long line of anti-Israel resolutions.”

“The only purpose is to demonize Israel and exempt the Palestinians from responsibility,” Erdan said, adding that the resolution was “destroying any hope for a resolution.”

The resolution gives the Palestinians “the perfect excuse to continue boycotting the negotiating table,” Erdan said, highlighting the Palestinians’ rejection of previous peace offers.

UN representatives vote on a resolution calling for an International Court of Justice opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on November 11, 2022. (Screenshot, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

He also lashed the resolution for referring to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount only by its Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif. The resolution also refers to the Temple Mount as part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

The Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews as the site of the ancient temples, and the third holiest site in Islam as the location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Freedom of worship is a value they refuse to uphold,” Erdan said, accusing the UN of peddling in “destructive falsehoods that will only perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The Palestinian delegation to the UN said in response to the resolution, “Our people deserve freedom. Our people are entitled to freedom.”

The United States representative to the committee, Richard Mills, expressed “serious concerns” about the resolution, saying it would “magnify distrust” surrounding the conflict.

“There are no shortcuts to a two-state solution,” he said, adding that the Temple Mount phrasing was “intended to denigrate Israel.”

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