Thursday, April 23, 2020

UN, EU Officials Warn Israeli Government Against Annexing West Bank

UN, EU officials warn new Israeli government against annexing West Bank

Senior officials in the European Union and United Nations on Thursday warned Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement saying the move could potentially go ahead as early as July.
The European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, issued a stark warning against the intention to annex parts of the West Bank, saying that such a move “would constitute a serious violation of international law.”
Borrell said the 27-member bloc does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory and that it will “continue to closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly.”

The Foreign Ministry slammed Borrell over his statement.

“It’s unfortunate that Josep Borrell, who pretends to be responsible for the foreign relations of the European Union, chooses in this manner to welcome a new government of a central partner to the EU and prefers to see relations between Israel and the EU through the prism of the pandemic and the ‘status of the territories,’” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry questioned Borrell’s decision to issue the statement, saying he did so only after failing to gain backing for it from all EU states.
“We wonder which states the honorable gentleman is choosing to represent,” the ministry said.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz thanked EU states that refused to back Borrell’s statement, but didn’t name them.
“I thank our friends in Europe who oppose Borrell’s announcement and prevented the adoption of the text in the EU’s name. These states recognize the value of relations with Israel and we’ll continue to advance relations between Israel and Europe together with them,” he said.

Netanyahu’s right-wing base is eager to move forward with annexation while the friendly Trump administration is in office.
Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War. The Palestinians seek those territories as part of a future independent state. Annexation of West Bank settlements would infuriate the Palestinians and Israel’s Arab neighbors.

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