German FM Says Israeli Annexations Would Violate Int’l Law
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday said that his country would consider Israel’s prospective annexation of parts of the West Bank under the Trump Administration’s Middle East peace plan a violation of international law. Nevertheless, he made clear that Berlin had not “set up any price tags” for the eventuality, apparently in reference to the European Union’s declared intent to sanction Israel. Maas arrived in the Jewish state earlier in the day, becoming Europe’s first high-ranking official to visit Jerusalem since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The trip comes ahead of the July 1 date that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set for pressing ahead with applying sovereignty over all settlements, and perhaps the Jordan Valley, in the Palestinian-claimed territory. However, reports have now emerged that Netanyahu might be preparing to walk back his maximalist position and instead initially annex only the regions of Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion, both located in close proximity to Jerusalem, in addition to Ariel in the northern West Bank.