Israeli PM Lapid urges world leaders to prevent ICJ opinion on Israel’s occupation
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday urged world leaders to block a Palestinian bid at the United Nations for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel’s occupation, the prime minister’s office said.
In a letter, Lapid asked more than 50 heads of state, including those of the UK and France, to pressure the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited rule in the occupied West Bank, and prevent it from promoting the resolution at the General Assembly.
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Lapid’s efforts were “doomed to fail.”
The resolution, approved by a U.N. committee in early November, asks that the ICJ “urgently” weigh in on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory”, which it said were violating Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem – areas that Palestinians want for a state – in a 1967 Middle East war.
“This resolution is the outcome of a concerted effort to single out Israel, to discredit our legitimate security concerns, and to delegitimize our very existence,” Lapid wrote in a copy of the letter shared with the press.
The status of disputed territory should be subject to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Lapid said, adding that bringing the matter before the ICJ “will only play into the hands of extremists”.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said: “We are confident world leaders who always stood by our just cause will not retreat from their positions.”
U.S.-sponsored negotiations stalled in 2014 and senior members of Israel’s likely incoming coalition government have opposed Palestinian statehood.
(Reporting by Henriette Chacar; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Sandra Maler)