France’s Macron asks Israel’s Netanyahu to abandon annexation plan

Paris /PNN/

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refrain from pushing forward with his plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

In a telephone conversation with Netanyahu on Thursday, Macron “emphasized that such a move would contravene international law and jeopardize the possibility of a two-state solution as the basis of a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” the French president’s office said in a statement on Friday.

Netanyahu had set July 1 as the date for the start of cabinet discussions on the annexation plan. But those discussions did not begin, amid openly expressed differences between Netanyahu and key members of his cabinet.

Netanyahu has been driven ahead by US President Donald Trump, who unveiled a plan for the Middle East in January that effectively sidelines the Palestinians.

During the Thursday telephone conversation, the Israeli prime minister claimed “Israel is acting according to international law,” according to Netanyahu’s office.

“Israel is prepared to hold peace negotiations on the basis of President Trump’s plan,” it said.

The Palestinians have dismissed Trump’s plan altogether because it meets almost none of their long-held demands for statehood.

The Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. Trump’s plan envisions Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allows the Tel Aviv regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley. The plan also denies Palestinian refugees the right of return to their homeland, among other controversial terms.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.