Last Friday, the UN’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee voted to approve a motion promoted by the Palestinian Authority to refer the legality of Israel's "occupation" of Judea and Samaria to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The committee voted to ask the ICJ for an opinion on the legal status of Israel's "prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967."
The proposal was approved with a majority of 98 countries voting in favor, with 17 voting against and 52 abstentions.
Countries that voted in favor included Belgium, Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Jordan, Morocco, Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates. Countries that opposed the motion included the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Australia, Austria and Italy.
The text, which was officially submitted by Nicaragua since the PA is an observer and not a member state of the UN, asks the ICJ to consider that, due to its continuing nature, the "Israeli occupation" constitutes annexation.
The motion now heads to the UN General Assembly, which will vote on the matter next month and, if approved, it will then be submitted to the ICJ.
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, denounced the vote, calling on nations to ask themselves whether they support negotiations and reconciliation or not. Speaking to Radio 103FM on Sunday, Erdan said the consequences for Israel could be significant.
"We don't yet know exactly what this is going to mean, but there most definitely could be serious consequences for Israel in diplomatic as well as economic terms," Erdan said. "This, of course, was the Palestinians' objective - they want the International Court to deliver a ruling stating that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria is unlawful, and to thereby force countries around the world to weigh their own steps as a result. Each and every country will interpret the latest developments, and any subsequent developments, on an individual basis, possibly including legislative measures.
"All the same, it's too soon to raise our hands in defeat," Erdan stressed. "After all, we succeeded in persuading almost 50 countries [in the United Nations] to either vote against or abstain, which is more than in the past."
He added, however, that, "Israel cannot go along with such a process, as that would grant it legitimacy. But I do think that we will succeed in getting our message across. I would note that this campaign on the part of the Palestinians began when Bennett was prime minister. This is coming from Abu Mazen [PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas]. Abbas has been making unilateral moves for years, regardless of which peace process - Trump's or Clinton's - happens to be on the table at the time. He rejects both. And this also has nothing to do with what kind of government is in power in Israel. It's nothing to do with the outgoing government, nor is it connected to the government now being formed."