Nations express ‘deep concern’ at Israeli punitive measures

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United Nations – More than 90 countries are expressing “deep concern” at Israel’s recent punitive measures against Palestinians, in response to a UN request for an International Court of Justice review of Israel’s occupation.

In a statement the Palestinians issued on Monday, the signatories called on them to reverse the Israeli measures and said, despite their position on the General Assembly resolution, “we refuse to take punitive measures in response to requests for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice.” About justice.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen denied their claims on Tuesday. “Senseless declarations and signatures will not prevent us from making the right decisions to protect our citizens and secure our future,” he said.

On December 30, 193 members of the General Assembly voted 87-26, with 53 abstentions, in favor of a resolution asking the International Court of Justice to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This request was supported by the Palestinians and strongly opposed by Israel. Although the decision of the International Court of Justice is not legally binding, it will influence the world opinion.

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Israel’s new hardline government retaliated on January 6, approving steps to punish the Palestinians in retaliation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a cabinet meeting that the move against the Palestinians was an “extreme anti-Israel” move at the United Nations.

The Cabinet’s Security Council has decided to suspend $39 million from the Palestinian Authority and instead transfer it to a compensation program for Israeli families killed in attacks by Palestinian militants.

It also decided to cut the amount of revenue Israel transfers to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, equal to what it paid last year to Palestinian prisoners and families of those killed in the conflict, including militants who have carried out attacks against Israelis. The Palestinian leadership interprets the payment as necessary social welfare, while Israel says the so-called “Magic Fund” incites violence.

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The Security Council also took direct aim at Palestinian officials, saying it would not benefit the “VIPs leading the political and legal war against Israel.” The first Palestinian casualty was Foreign Minister Riyad Malki, who announced on January 8 that his VIP travel permit, which allowed top Palestinian officials to travel more easily, had been revoked on January 8 when he returned from Brazil’s presidential inauguration. informed on than ordinary Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

The statement issued on Monday was signed by representatives of Arab countries and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation and 37 other countries, including 27 Germany, France and Italy, as well as representatives of Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and others. South Africa.

Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour welcomed the statement of support, telling the Associated Press: “We have exercised our democratic right to participate peacefully and legally in the General Assembly, and we have submitted a referendum to the ICJ and received an advisory opinion. “

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“What’s amazing about this announcement,” he said, is that some of the countries that abstained or voted against the resolution to refer the question to the court signed on.

“But it’s another thing to punish people who went to the General Assembly to pass a resolution,” Mansoor said. That is why they stand with us and oppose this policy of the Israeli government and demand that this decision be reversed.

He predicts many countries will support the announcement when the UN Security Council meets on January 18 for its monthly meeting on Middle East issues related to the decades-long Palestinian conflict.

Associated Press writer Isabelle DeBre in Jerusalem contributed.

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