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Israel’s new far-right government imposed a series of punitive steps against Palestinians this week in response to the latter’s efforts to involve the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the decades-long conflict, Reuters reported.
The government has withheld nearly $40 million in Palestinian tax revenues and said they would transfer the money to victims of Palestinian militant attacks. Authorities also imposed a moratorium on Palestinian construction in some parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The measures also include a ban on Palestinian flags in public places. Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir tweeted that the flag is associated with “a terrorist organization” and the ban aims “to stop any incitement against the State of Israel,” according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, border officials have suspended the “VIP” travel pass of Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, which had allowed him to travel in and around the West Bank.
The recent crackdown comes more than a week after the United Nations General Assembly – responding to an appeal by Palestinians – requested an opinion from the ICJ on the legal implications of Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territories, Axios wrote.
Israel captured the territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War.
The court’s opinion, which can take between one to two years, will address a number of questions related to the occupation, including “how the policies and practices of Israel affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinian Authority of promoting “an extremist anti-Israeli resolution at the United Nations.” Palestinian officials, in turn, have condemned Israel’s actions and said that they will continue to seek international support.
Observers warned that the recent moves from both sides risk worsening tensions after the deadliest year of the Israel-Palestinian conflict in nearly two decades.