Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020


More than 1,000 European politicians decry Israel’s annexation plans

Document describes Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu's plan as being fatal to chances for peace

The Israeli authorities demolish a under-construction Palestinian house in Beitunia in the occupied West Bank, June 24, 2020 Reuters
The Israeli authorities demolish a under-construction Palestinian house in Beitunia in the occupied West Bank, June 24, 2020 Reuters

More than 1,000 European parliamentarians from 25 nations have signed an open letter denouncing Israel’s plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The letter, addressed to European governments, described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to begin annexation on July 1 as the end to the possibility of peace in the region.

European leaders must act decisively to “prevent annexation and to safeguard the prospects of the two-state solution and a just resolution to the conflict”, said the letter, signed by 1,080 politicians.

“Failure to adequately respond would encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law."

Most of the international community has called for restraint from Israel over its designs to annex territory Palestinians claim as part of a possible future state.

European governments including the UK and the EU have opposed the move in the West Bank, including the strategically important Jordan Valley, after the US gave its public backing to the deal.

But frequent statements from the EU and UN have been criticised as largely toothless.

In the letter, the parliamentarians said if Israel went ahead with its designs there should be “commensurate consequences”.

In a statement to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, British Middle East Minister James Cleverly urged a negotiated two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.

"The UK strongly opposes annexation, which would breach international law," Mr Cleverly said.

"The United Kingdom will not recognise any unilateral attempt to change the border.

"Such a step would go against the rules-based international order and the UN Charter. Annexation could not go unanswered and we implore Israel to reconsider."

Since it captured the West Bank in 1967, Israel has built settlements that are now home to about 400,000 Israelis.

Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal.

In January 2020, US President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled its “Deal of the Century”, which heavily favours Israel.

The proposal, which gave approval to annexation, has been rejected by the Palestinians.

Mr Netanyahu’s government has yet to publish details of the proposed annexation but he has called for about 30 per cent of the territory to be absorbed under Israeli sovereignty.

Updated: June 25, 2020 02:44 AM



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