Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan warn Israel over annexation


Berlin-The foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan on Tuesday urged Israel to abandon plans to begin annexing settlements in the West Bank, warning such action could have “consequences” for relations.

“We concur that any annexation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and imperil the foundations of the peace process,” the ministers said in a statement after a joint video conference.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set July 1 as the date when it could begin to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.

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

Netanyahu’s office made no announcement on July 1 as expected, but said talks were continuing with US officials and Israeli security chiefs.

“We would not recognise any changes to the 1967 borders that are not agreed by both parties in the conflict,” the ministers warned in the statement issued by the German foreign ministry.

“We also concur that such a step would have serious consequences for the security and stability of the region, and would constitute a major obstacle to efforts aimed at achieving a comprehensive and just peace,” they said.

“It could also have consequences for the relationship with Israel,” they added, underlining their commitment to a two-state solution based on international law.

The EU has in recent weeks mounted a diplomatic campaign against annexation, highlighted by a visit to Jerusalem by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to raise concern about the prospective plans.

But the bloc cannot threaten Israel with formal sanctions without unanimous support among members.

After occupying the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel began establishing a network of settlements the following decade. Construction continues to this day.

Despite being viewed as illegal under international law, the settler population has jumped by 50 percent over the past decade.





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