Germany, France criticize Israel over West Bank annexation plans
Iran Press TV
Sunday, 21 June 2020 6:36 AM
Germany and France have called on Israel to halt its plans to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank which Palestinians consider as part of their future independent state.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, urged the Tel Aviv regime to renounce its controversial plan.
After meeting with Maas in Berlin, Le Drian said, "Our goal is still to prevent any annexation in violation of international law in the first place."
The French foreign minister stressed that the annexation would increase "instability in the Middle East".
Maas said Israel's annexation plans were "of great concern" to him and Le Drian. The issue, he said, should be brought to the forefront once more.
The pair announced intensive talks between EU partners and neighboring countries such as Jordan.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing a number of criminal indictments, has repeatedly said that he would commence cabinet-level discussions for annexing more areas in the West Bank on July 1, in accordance with US President Donald Trump's so-called deal of the century.
The American president officially unveiled his much-condemned Middle East plan in January at the White House with Netanyahu on his side, while Palestinian representatives were not invited.
Back in late 2017, Trump enraged Palestinians by recognizing the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, both its eastern and western parts, as Israel's "undivided capital," a highly-provocative move he took in the face of historic Palestinian demands that the city's eastern part serve as the capital of their future state.
The proposal, which has already been categorically rejected and condemned by Palestinians, largely gives in to Israel's demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders.
It enshrines the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's "capital" and allows the regime to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, which Israel occupied in 1967.
'Annex now, as world occupied with coronavirus'
According to the Israeli ministry of intelligence, now is the best time to implement the annexation plan, as Arab countries would not protest the move.
The daily Israel Hayom announced on Friday that it had obtained a copy of a position paper presented to Israeli intelligence minister Eli Cohen which cited the advantages of the annexation.
The annexation "improves the starting conditions of future negotiations with the Palestinians for Israel and crystallizes the cost of Palestinian rejection of peace talks, and therefore could spur [the Palestinians] back to the negotiation table in an effort to halt additional phases," the paper reportedly says.
"After a wave of diplomatic protests, mainly by governments, the annexation won't rouse the Arab street against the regimes. The absence of agitation in the streets will make it clear to Arab leaders that the Palestinian issue isn't a threat to them."
According to the document, the annexation would provide a platform for the Arab regimes to improve ties with Israel without waiting for an Israeli-Palestinian arrangement.
On Thursday, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi unexpectedly visited the West Bank where he warned against the annexation plans.
"Annexation is unprecedented for the peace process, and it will kill the two-state solution and will destroy all the foundations of the peace process,'" Safadi said after meeting with his Palestinian counterpart in the city of Ramallah.
He said the plans would "deprive all peoples of the region of their right to live in security, peace and stability."
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