European powerhouses condemn Netanyahu annexation plan

Five countries say it would imperil the viability of a two-state solution

Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu march at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem on September 13, 2019. Benjamin Netanyahu has become Israel's longest-serving prime minister and is fighting his second election in five months in the upcoming September 17 elections. AFP
Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu march at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem on September 13, 2019. Benjamin Netanyahu has become Israel's longest-serving prime minister and is fighting his second election in five months in the upcoming September 17 elections. AFP

The UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain released a joint statement on Friday condemning Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley, describing it as a “series breach of international law”.

“We are deeply concerned about the announcement of a possible annexation of areas in the West Bank, particularly the Jordan valley and the northern portion of the Dead Sea,” they said.

“France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom will continue to call on all parties to refrain from actions in contravention of international law that would imperil the viability of a two-state solution, based on the 1967 lines, and make it harder to achieve a just and lasting peace.”

In an announcement designed to bolster his right-wing electoral base, Mr Netanyahu promised on Tuesday to annex the Jordan Valley, comprising a quarter of the occupied West Bank, if he is re-elected on September 17.

The area offers West Bank Palestinians the only access to Jordan, through the Allenby Bridge.

Mr Netanyahu says it is a “one-time opportunity” to redesign Israel's borders with the support of the US. He also plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Israel regards the Jordan Valley as vital to its security as it sits along the border with Jordan, preventing attacks from the east and ensuring that any Palestinian territories remain demilitarised.

In the same statement, the five European nations said Israel had the right to defend itself.

Published: September 13, 2019 05:36 PM

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