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Annexation

UN, EU warn Israel against West Bank annexation

The United Nations and the European Union have warned Israel not to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. The UN’s special Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov on Thursday said such a move would be a “devastating blow” to the internationally-backed two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as the EU said annexing Palestinian territory “would…

UN, EU warn Israel against West Bank annexation

The United Nations and the European Union have warned Israel not to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
The UN’s special Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov on Thursday said such a move would be a “devastating blow” to the internationally-backed two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as the EU said annexing Palestinian territory “would constitute a serious violation of international law”.
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Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement that includes a clause to advance plans to annex parts of the West Bank, including Israeli settlements, starting on July 1.
Reporting from the UN, Al Jazeera’s James Bays said the formation of a government in Israel has brought the question of annexation into focus. “The new coalition government in Israel makes the prospect of the annexation of parts of the West Bank much more likely. That means that areas currently seen as occupied under international law, would be brought under Israel’s sovereignty.  At least that’s how Israel would see it,” he said.
In a video briefing with the UN Security Council, Mladenov warned that “the dangerous prospect of annexation by Israel of parts of the occupied West Bank is a growing threat”, and said such a move would violate international law.
The envoy said annexation would also “deal a devastating blow to the two-state solution, close the door to a renewal of negotiations, and threaten efforts to advance regional peace.”
Separately on Thursday, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc of 27 member countries does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian territory and that it will “continue to closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly”.
US plan
Netanyahu’s pro-settler base is eager to move forward with annexation while the friendly administration of United States President Donald Trump is in office.
The White House’s long-awaited Mideast plan, unveiled earlier this year, envisions leaving parts of the West Bank under permanent Israeli control. The Palestinians have rejected the plan as biased.
Israel captured the West Bank during the 1967 Mideast war. Since then, more than 700,000 Israelis have moved into settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal according to international law and an obstacle to a two-state solution to the conflict.
The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as part of an independent state. Annexation of West Bank settlements would infuriate the Palestinians and Israel’s Arab neighbours, and eliminate any lingering hopes of establishing a viable Palestinian state.
The Netanyahu-Gantz deal stipulates that any Israeli action would need US backing, and must take into account Israel’s peace treaties with neighbouring Jordan and Egypt.
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Annexation

Netanyahu says West Bank annexation plans still ‘on the table’ |NationalTribune.com

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he agreed to delay annexation in the occupied West Bank as part of a normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but the plans remain “on the table”. Israel and the UAE agreed on Thursday to normalise diplomatic ties in a landmark deal – brokered by the…

Netanyahu says West Bank annexation plans still ‘on the table’ |NationalTribune.com

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he agreed to delay annexation in the occupied West Bank as part of a normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but the plans remain “on the table”.
Israel and the UAE agreed on Thursday to normalise diplomatic ties in a landmark deal – brokered by the United States – according to which Tel Aviv had pledged to halt annexation of Palestinian lands.
A joint statement issued by the three nations said “Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty” over the occupied West Bank areas.
However, in a television address after US President Donald Trump’s announcement of the deal, Netanyahu said he had only agreed to “delay” the annexation, and that he would “never give up our rights to our land”.
“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said in Jerusalem, using the biblical name for the occupied West Bank.

Israel begins bulldozing villagers’ homes in West Bank

Meanwhile, a tweet by the UAE’s leader indicated the Gulf state viewed Israel’s annexation plans as being off the table.
“An agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan posted on Twitter.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told a media briefing that “most countries will see this as a bold step to secure a two-state solution, allowing time for negotiations”.

During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) August 13, 2020

Israel claims the occupied West Bank territory as part of the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
As outlined in Trump’s controversial Middle East proposal unveiled in January, Israel plans to annex roughly 30 percent of the occupied West Bank.
Trump’s proposal had triggered global outcry and threats of retaliation against Israel, including from the European Union.
Palestinians reject Israel-UAE deal
While Netanyahu hailed “a new era” between Israel and the Arab world following the deal with the UAE, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas voiced his “strong rejection and condemnation” and called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League.
In a statement, Abbas called the deal an “aggression” against the Palestinian people and a “betrayal” of their cause, including their claim to Jerusalem as a capital of their future state.
Hamas, the group that controls the besieged Gaza Strip, rejected the Israel-UAE pact as “a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes” and said it “does not serve the Palestinian people”.
The Palestinian foreign ministry said it has recalled its ambassador to the UAE in response to the deal, The Associated Press reported late on Thursday.
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Annexation

Pompeo: Annexation of occupied West Bank ultimately up to Israel

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that it was Israel’s decision whether to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, and the US will offer its views on this to the new Israeli government in private. “As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions,”…

Pompeo: Annexation of occupied West Bank ultimately up to Israel

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that it was Israel’s decision whether to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, and the US will offer its views on this to the new Israeli government in private.
“As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions,” Pompeo told reporters. “That’s an Israeli decision. And we will work closely with them to share with them our views of this in [a] private setting.”
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Pompeo also said he was “happy” that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist rival Benny Gantz signed a deal on Monday to form an emergency coalition government, saying he did not think a fourth Israeli election was in Israel’s interest.
According to the joint statement, the coalition is to serve as an “emergency government” for an initial six months. During that time, no laws are to be introduced that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.
One exception however, is Israel’s intention – in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan – to annex the Jordan Valley and illegal Jewish settlements and other territory in the occupied West Bank, actions that would defy international law.
Netanyahu could submit these plans for approval from July, according to the statement.
Palestinians have condemned the formation of a new Israeli “annexation government”, saying the agreement would wreck hopes of peace.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in remarks aired on Wednesday that his administration would regard agreements with Israel and the US “completely cancelled” if Israel annexes land in the occupied West Bank.
“We have informed the relevant international parties, including the American and the Israeli governments, that we will not stand hand-cuffed if Israel announces the annexation of any part of our land,” Abbas said on Palestine TV. 

Israeli forces stand guard as Palestinian demonstrators gather during a protest against Israeli settlements in Beita town, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official, said earlier this week that “very serious, challenging days” are expected, given Trump’s close relationship with Netanyahu.
“This is extremely dangerous not just for Palestine, for Israel, for the region, but for the world,” Ashrawi said.
According to several United Nations Security Council resolutions, the most recent in 2016, Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies.
The Trump administration has repeatedly sided with Israel and against stances taken by the Palestinians and Arab states, including recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy there.
Last year, the US government said it would no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that the settlements were “inconsistent with international law”.
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