40 Countries Urge Israel to Lift Palestinian Authority Sanctions

NEW YORK – About 40 countries have urged Israel to lift the sanctions imposed on the Palestinian Authority earlier this month. The sanctions were imposed in retaliation for pushing for the UN’s top court to vote on the Israeli occupation. On December 30, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution seeking opinions from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the issue of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In retaliation, on January 6, Israel announced a series of sanctions, including financial sanctions, against the Palestinian Authority as a price to be paid for pushing for the resolution. In a statement, some 40 UN member states reaffirmed their unwavering support for ICJ and international law. They also expressed deep concern regarding the Israeli government’s decision to impose punitive measures against the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society after a request by the General Assembly to the ICJ.

“Regardless of individual countries’ positions on the resolution, we reject punitive action in response to a request for an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice, and more broadly in response to a General Assembly resolution, and call for its immediate repeal,” the statement read. The statement was signed by the countries that voted for the UN General Assembly resolution including Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Ireland, Pakistan and South Africa, but also by several countries that abstained, such as Japan, France and South Korea as well as other countries that abstained against resolutions such as Germany and Estonia.

“This is significant because it shows that regardless of how countries vote, they are united in rejecting these punitive measures,” Palestine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said in a statement. Asked about the statements of the UN members, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General reiterated Antonio Guterres’ deep concern about Israel’s recent actions against the Palestinian Authority, stressing that there should be no retaliation in relation to the ICJ.

The call to lift the sanctions comes at a time when the Palestinian Authority is facing increasing financial difficulty due to the Israeli occupation. The Palestinian Authority is struggling to pay salaries to its employees and to provide basic services to the Palestinian people. In addition, the Israeli occupation has caused the Palestinian economy to suffer, with unemployment rates reaching record highs and poverty increasing.

The international community must take action to ensure that Israel lifts the sanctions imposed on the Palestinian Authority and respects international law. The Palestinians must be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination and to live in peace and security, free from the oppressive Israeli occupation.