UN, Arab League urge Israel to abandon annexation plans

Updated Jun 25 2020

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PALESTINIAN protesters come face to face with Israeli security personnel during a rally against Israel’s plans to annex parts of occupied West Bank, in the Jordan Valley village of Fasayil on Wednesday.—AFP
PALESTINIAN protesters come face to face with Israeli security personnel during a rally against Israel’s plans to annex parts of occupied West Bank, in the Jordan Valley village of Fasayil on Wednesday.—AFP

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations and the Arab League (AL) joined in calling on Wednesday for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The calls were made during a UN Security Council video conference in which several government ministers participated.

It was the last international meeting before Israel goes ahead with the plans as early as July 1.

For their part, more than 1,000 European lawmakers from 25 countries also urged their leaders to step in and stop the Israeli plan.

“I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the conference.

He reiterated the longstanding goal of a two-state solution with an independent, contiguous, sovereign and viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit said annexation “will destroy any prospect for peace in the future.”

“The possible move by the Israeli government to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory would constitute, if implemented, a serious threat to regional stability,” he added.

The UN coordinator for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov said annexation “could irrevocably alter the nature of Israeli-Palestinian relations”. He added: “It risks upending more than a quarter of a century of international efforts in support of a future viable Palestinian state living in peace, security and mutual recognition with the State of Israel.”

Plans are to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley, as part of a broader US blueprint for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The plan — endorsed by Washington — would see the creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory, and without Pales­tinians’ core demand of a capital in east Jerusalem.

The plan has been rejected in its entirety by the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to kick-start the process next week, after clinching a coalition deal with his former election rival last month.

In a letter published in newspapers and sent to European foreign ministers, the 1,080 parliamentarians said they were “deeply worried about the precedent this would set for international relations”. “Such a move will be fatal to the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace,” added the letter.

“Regrettably, President Trump’s plan departs from internationally agreed para­meters and principles.” The letter referred to the US leader three times but made no direct mention of Netanyahu.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2020