Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

ANNEXATION OF PALESTINE

Drop West Bank annexation plan, Emmanuel Macron tells Benjamin Netanyahu

French president voiced fears over fate of two-state solution during call with Israeli prime minister

Israeli soldiers man a checkpoint at the main entrance of Al Fawwar camp for Palestinian refugees, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. AFP
Israeli soldiers man a checkpoint at the main entrance of Al Fawwar camp for Palestinian refugees, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to go ahead with plans to annex Palestinian territory in the West Bank

During a telephone call between the two leaders on Thursday, Mr Macron "emphasised that such a move would contravene international law and jeopardise the possibility of a two-state solution as the basis of a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians", his office said.

Mr Macron's call adds to pressure from European leaders for Mr Netanyahu to drop plans to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley.

The controversial move was endorsed in a Middle East plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January.

Israel's government had set July 1 as the date when it could begin taking over the Palestinian areas, where the population of Israeli settlers has grown since the 1967 Six-Day War.

The foreign ministries of France and Germany, along with those of Egypt and Jordan – the only Arab states to have peace deals with Israel – warned this week that any annexation could have "consequences" for relations.

The annexation plan has raised tensions in the West Bank and sparked protests in the occupied Palestinian territory was well as in the Gaza Strip.

Late on Thursday, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man and injured another in the West Bank's Salfit governorate.

The Israeli army said troops fired at two Palestinians who were throwing Molotov cocktails at a guard post near the village of Kifl Haris, but Salfit Governor Abdallah Kmail said they opened fire β€œfor no reason" as the men were walking through the village.

He identified the man killed as 29-year-old Ibrahim Abu Yakoub.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli security forces clashed with around 30 hardline Jewish settlers overnight who were trying to rebuild an unauthorised outpost in a closed military zone. The Border Police said the settlers blocked roads and attacked its forces, lightly wounding two officers.

It said 20 people were detained for questioning. There were no reports of any serious injuries among the settlers.

Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 war and which the Palestinians view as the heartland of their future state. The territory is home to around 2.5 million Palestinians.

The Palestinians and most of the international community view the settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace. The Trump administration has broken with decades of US policy by saying it does not consider the settlements to be illegal, and the Trump plan would allow Israel to eventually annex all of them.

Updated: July 10, 2020 02:53 PM

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