UN, European MPs, Arab League call on Israel to ditch West Bank annexation plans

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The United Nations and the Arab League have called on Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, with European lawmakers warning of “consequences” in case Tel Aviv moved forward with its project.

Speaking during a UN Security Council video conference on Wednesday in which several government ministers participated, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres repeated his call on Israel to “abandon its annexation plans”.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he would start plans for annexing more areas in the occupied West Bank on July 1 in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s scheme.

At the virtual meeting, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said annexation “will destroy any prospect for peace in the future.”

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“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 also warned that annexation “could irrevocably alter the nature of Israeli-Palestinian relations.”

“It risks up-ending 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,” he said.

Trump officially unveiled his scheme in January at the White House with Netanyahu on his side, while Palestinian representatives were not invited.

The proposal gives in to Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allowing the Tel Aviv regime to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

‘Commensurate consequences’

Meanwhile, some 1,080 lawmakers from 25 European countries warned that the annexation plans “will be fatal to the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace and will challenge the most basic norms guiding international relations”.

In a letter to European governments that was made public on Wednesday, the lawmakers said, “Acquisition of territory by force has no place in 2020.”

They also warned of “commensurate consequences” if Israel went ahead with its plan — a reference to possible economic, trade or other sanctions.

“Failure to adequately respond would encourage other states with territorial claims,” the letter added.

The signatories of the June 23 letter included members of parliament from Hungary and the Czech Republic, two countries sympathetic to Israel and to Trump’s scheme.

Trump’s highly provocative scheme, which further denies the right of return to Palestinian refugees, is also in complete disregard of UN Security Council resolutions and rejected by the vast majority of the international community.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. But Israel’s aggressive settlement expansion and annexation plans have dealt a serious blow to any prospects of peace.