Netanyahu: Israel not bound by 'despicable' U.N. vote

STORY: Israel condemned and the Palestinians welcomed on Saturday a United Nations vote over Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The General Assembly passed a resolution on Friday to ask the International Court of Justice for an opinion on the legal consequences of the (quote) "occupation, settlement and annexation... including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday called the vote "despicable." He said the Israeli people are not occupiers, and would not be bound by the resolution.

The vote presents a challenge for Netanyahu, who took office this week as the head of a new hard-right government that has made settlement expansion and annexation a priority.

Palestinian officials hailed the vote as a victory Saturday. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the time has come for Israel to be a state subject to law.

Along with Gaza and East Jerusalem, the Palestinians seek the occupied West Bank for a state. Most countries consider Israel's settlements there illegal, a view Israel disputes citing historical and Biblical ties to the land.

The Hague-based International Court of Justice is the top U.N. court dealing with disputes between states. Its rulings are binding, but it has no power to enforce them.