JERUSALEM (AP) – The European Union warned Israel’s incoming government on Thursday that its intention to annex parts of the occupied West Bank “would constitute a serious violation of international law.”
The EU’s foreign chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over Palestinian territory and “will continue to closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly.”RELATED
Days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement that includes a clause to advance plans to annex Israeli settlements and other parts of the West Bank from July 1.
The Netanyahu base, a supporter of the settlements, wants to advance annexation as long as it has the backing of the US government from Donald Trump.
The White House’s Middle East plan, released earlier this year, includes parts of the West Bank to remain under permanent Israeli control. Palestinians reject the plan as biased.
Israel took the West Bank during the 1967 war. Since then, more than 700,000 Israelis have settled in settlements in the territory and in East Jerusalem. Most of the international community considers the settlements to be illegal under international law and an obstacle to a two-state solution.
Palestinians want the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem as part of an independent state. The annexation of the settlements would enrage both Palestinians and Israel’s Arab neighbors and would remove the last hopes of creating a viable Palestinian state.
The Netanyahu-Gantz agreement stipulates that any Israeli measure requires the backing of Washington and must take into account Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry deplored that Borrell’s declaration “chooses to focus relations between Israel and the European Union” exclusively through the “status of the territories”.