Netanyahu Visits Western Wall, Slams UN Vote to Refer Israel to Court of Justice
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JERUSALEM, Israel – Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited Jerusalem's Western Wall Sunday, one of Judaism's holiest sites, to pray and give thanks for the swearing-in of Israel's 37th government last Thursday.
The prime minister also slammed the United Nations for its "distorted" decision Friday to refer the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague for advice on dealing with Israel's "occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory."
At the Wall, Netanyahu said, "I just wrote in the (guest) book, 'The Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps' (Psalm 121:1).'" He continued, "I must say that I am also moved this time as well, to accept the position and lead the State of Israel. I have come here, the quarry from which we were shaped, to touch the stones of the Western Wall, and to remember that we are charged with the obligation of safeguarding the heritage of generations and ensuring our future for the coming generations as well, and this we will do."
Netanyahu was angered, as was his predecessor, former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, at a series of United Nations anti-Israel votes in the past two months, culminating in Friday's vote to ask the IJC at The Hague to intervene on the legal issues the Palestinians wish to press against Israel. The measure passed with 87 votes, less than half of the U.N. member states, because a number of countries were absent or abstained.
The U.S., Canada and Australia were among the 26 nations voting against the resolution. 53 countries abstained and 27 were absent.
"Just like the hundreds of distorted U.N General Assembly resolutions against Israel over the years, (Friday's) disgraceful resolution will not obligate the government of Israel," Netanyahu said.
The U.N. is asking the ICJ for a legal opinion on whether the "occupation" of territories Israel won in the 1967 Six-Day War is a form of annexation. The resolution also includes Jerusalem in the territories about which the U.N. seeks the legal advice.
Netanyahu responded, "The Jewish people is not occupying its land and is not occupying its eternal capital Jerusalem. No U.N. resolution can distort this historical truth."
Palestinians applauded the U.N. decision. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called it "a new victory for the Palestinians and their just cause on the way to achieving their freedom and national independence." The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the vote is "an historic achievement and a diplomatic victory."
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