Arab foreign ministers condemn Israel's plans to annex occupied West Bank

Emergency meeting was held at request of Palestinian Authority

A handout picture provided by the Arab League on April 30, 2020, shows Arab League Chief Ahmed Abul Gheit chairing an urgent virtual meeting, in the Egyptian capital Cairo, to discuss how to galvanise opposition to Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. The extraordinary meeting -- at the request of the Palestinian leadership -- comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz signed a deal for a unity government that could accelerate the premier's plans to annex parts of the West Bank in the coming months. 
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 / AFP / Arab League / - / === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / ARAB LEAGUE" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ===
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Arab foreign ministers on Thursday strongly condemned Israel’s plan to annex large areas of the occupied West Bank, an action the Palestinian Foreign Minister said would rule out any chance of peace and stability.

The emergency meeting was held at the request of the Palestinian Authority and conducted by video to observe rules of social distancing brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel’s annexation in the West Bank would draw widespread international condemnation and dash any lingering hopes of a viable independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The Palestinians have threatened to annul peace agreements if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved ahead with his plan.

The EU and the UN have also voiced strong opposition.

US officials say Washington is prepared to recognise Israeli action to extend its sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.

The Arab foreign ministers meeting said Israel was taking advantage of the world’s preoccupation with the coronavirus pandemic to push ahead with its annexation plan.

The meeting's communique said it amounted to a “new war crime to be added to Israel’s rich track record of horrific crimes against the Palestinians".

It urged the US to withdraw its support for the annexation plan and abide by UN resolutions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The ministers called for the resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel under international sponsorship and within a declared timeframe.

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