Rishi Sunak has announced that the UK will vote against an anti-Israel resolution at the UN later this month.
Making the comments at the end of his keynote speech to Conservative members on Monday, the Prime Minister praised his predecessors Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and Liz Truss – who were all in attendance at the annual lunch function – for their “principled commitment to ending the bias against Israel in international fora”, and pledged to continue that stance.
Mr Sunak continued, “And I will therefore oppose any actions which stand to harm the peace process and the two-state solution, and that will include the upcoming vote at the UN General Assembly relating to the ICJ where I can confirm that the United Kingdom will join with our allies in voting against this divisive action.”
The United Nations General Assembly is due to hold a vote on whether to ask the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on Israel’s so-called “occupation of Palestinian territories”.
The resolution, which was approved by a UN committee in early November, asks that the ICJ “urgently” weigh in on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory”, which it said were violating Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
In the first vote held last month by the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (Fourth Committee) to refer the resolution to the General Assembly, 98 countries voted in favour, 17 voted against, 52 abstained, and 26 were absent.
The UK was one of the countries that abstained, while the United States, Australia, and Germany voted against. However, Rishi Sunak’s announcement on Monday confirmed the UK will now switch to voting against the resolution.
Two weeks ago, Israel’s outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid wrote a letter to more than 50 heads of state to pressure the Palestinian Authority in order to prevent it from promoting the resolution at the General Assembly.
Lapid labelled it “the outcome of a concerted effort to single out Israel, to discredit our legitimate security concerns, and to delegitimise our very existence”.