Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Saturday the United Nations proposal to seek an advisory opinion on the Israeli occupation in the West Bank “disgraceful” and said that it won’t bind Israel.
“The Jewish people is not an occupier on its own land and is not an occupier of its eternal capital of Jerusalem. No UN resolution will distort this historical truth,” Netanyahu said on Saturday.
“In the last few days, I’ve had conversations with world leaders who’ve changed their vote as a result … after our intervention, 11 countries changed their vote and as a result, those who supported the Palestinians among members of the UN became a minority.”
The UN General Assembly voted on Friday night in favor of submitting a request for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, focusing specifically on whether the occupation is a temporary reality that Israel aims to resolve via negotiations, or a permanent and continuing situation that is akin to de facto annexation of the West Bank.
On Sunday, Otzma Yehudit lawmaker Zvika Fogel spoke about the UN vote in an interview on Israeli radio. The far-right MK said that “as of now, the occupation is permanent. I cannot argue with facts,” adding that he would like to “continue to apply Israeli sovereignty over all the places that I can.”
Earlier on Saturday, Netanyahu spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in order to ask that Kyiv vote against the proposal. Ukraine did not participate in the vote.
A senior Ukrainian official confirmed to Haaretz that Netanyahu asked Zelenskyy that Ukraine vote against the Palestinian proposal asking the International Court of Justice in the Hague to prepare an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
According to the official, “We didn’t want to burn any bridges, so we accepted his request.” Ultimately, Ukraine chose not to participate in the vote.
In response to Netanyahu’s request, Zelenskyy asked that Israel support Ukraine’s peace initiatives and cooperate with Ukraine on security matters, the official said. “The request fell on deaf ears. Netanyahu said he would check and get back to him,” the official added.
In November, Kyiv supported the proposed Palestinian resolution when it was discussed by the UN Special Committee on Politics and Decolonization. A few days later, Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, for a reprimand.
In Saturday’s call, Zelenskyy congratulated Netanyahu on taking office. The two discussed cooperation between the countries on security matters and in international governance bodies, and Ukraine’s proposal for peace, according to Zelenskyy’s official announcement.
Zelenskyy is pressuring Israel to provide defensive weapons; Israel has declined so far. Netanyahu has said he would re-examine the matter after returning to the prime minister’s office, but has hinted on several occasions that Israel needs to maintain ties with Russia to ensure it can continue its airstrikes in Syria.