In a phone call Friday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to vote against a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to issue a legal opinion on the repercussions of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, according to Israeli officials, quoting Axios. American news.
Ukraine voted in favor of the resolution during the UN committee vote, but did not attend the General Assembly vote on Friday, "in order to give a chance to the relationship with Netanyahu," according to the Ukrainian official.
The United Nations General Assembly approved the resolution late Friday, with 87 countries voting in favor, 24 against and 53 abstentions.
According to the decision, the International Court of Justice will draft an advisory opinion on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, a process that could take between one and two years. The opinion must address the legal consequences of "the Israeli occupation, settlement and annexation, including measures aimed at changing the demographic composition, character and status of the city of Jerusalem," as stated in the decision.
The opinion should also address how "the policies and practices of Israel affect the legal status of the occupation, and the legal consequences that arise for all states and the United Nations from this situation."
Ukrainian officials said Ukraine defied Israeli requests to vote against the resolution during a UN panel vote several weeks ago over Israel's refusal to provide military aid to Ukraine.
Israeli Foreign Ministry officials were furious at the time and summoned the Ukrainian ambassador for a difficult conversation.
Behind the scenes, Netanyahu, who was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, called Zelensky as part of a series of phone calls with the leaders of some of the countries that previously voted in favor of the resolution.
A senior Israeli official told Axios that Israel wanted them to change their votes and oppose the resolution, or at least abstain.
During the call with Netanyahu, Zelensky made it clear that in exchange for voting against or abstaining from voting, he wanted to hear how the new Israeli government would change its policy and provide Ukraine with defense systems against Russian ballistic missile attacks and Iranian-made drones.
The Ukrainian official stated that Netanyahu did not commit to anything, but expressed his willingness to discuss Zelensky's requests in the future.
According to the Ukrainian official, Zelensky did not like the answer, and did not agree to vote against or abstain. Instead, he instructed Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations not to attend the vote.
According to the report, "the two leaders were not satisfied and did not get what they wanted from each other. Zelensky decided that we would not attend the vote in order to give the relationship with Netanyahu a chance."
A senior Israeli official revealed that although Ukraine did not vote in favor of the resolution, Israel was disappointed, because instead of abstaining, Kyiv decided not to attend the vote.
"The prime minister spoke to President Zelensky, and Ukraine, which previously voted in favor of the anti-Israel resolution, did not attend the vote this time, otherwise we will not comment on the diplomatic talks," Netanyahu's office said.
On Saturday, Zelensky tweeted that in the phone call the two leaders "congratulated Netanyahu on taking office as prime minister. We discussed bilateral cooperation between our countries, including in the security field and interaction on international platforms. We also touched on peace in Ukraine."