UN Security Council videoconference on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, June 24, 2020. (United Nations)

UN, Arab League, European Legislators, Urge Israel to Drop Annexation Plan

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres asked the Israeli government on Wednesday to step back from its intention to apply Israeli civil law to West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley, urging it to “abandon its annexation plans.” Guterres told the Security Council, “If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations.” The UN and the Arab League made a joint appeal to Israel on Wednesday, during a UN Security Council videoconference in which several government ministers participated. This was the last major international meeting before July 1, Israel’s target date for starting cabinet discussions on moving forward with annexation. Meanwhile, 1,080 lawmakers from 25 countries across Europe said in a June 23 letter to European governments that any Israeli move to annex parts of the West Bank would break international law, be “fatal” for Middle East peace hopes, and must be prevented. The letter was made public on Wednesday. Israel is considering applying its sovereignty to up to 30% of the West Bank, in line with US President Donald “Vision for Peace,” which calls for Palestinian statehood under strict conditions in the territories that Israel does not annex. The letter by the European parliamentarians said that “acquisition of territory by force has no place in 2020” and that “such a move will be fatal to the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace and will challenge the most basic norms guiding international relations.” It called for “commensurate consequences” if Israel went ahead with annexation – language understood to refer to possible economic, trade or other sanctions.

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