Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 October 2020


UK PM Boris Johnson condemns Israel’s West Bank annexation plans in call with Mahmoud Abbas

Jordan's King Abdullah also decries land-grab proposals

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday night, in which he reaffirmed the UK’s opposition to Israel’s planned annexation of part of the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to extend his country’s sovereignty is based on one promoted by US President Donald Trump’s administration in January.

Between 2.1 million and 3 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, which is also home to about 430,000 Israeli Jews living in illegal settlements.

Under the terms of the Trump administration's Middle East peace plan, the US recognises these settlements, built on land the Palestinians seek for a future state, as part of Israel.

Washington’s proposal seeks to bring about 30 per cent of the West Bank under permanent Israeli control.

This has been vehemently rejected by Palestinians, who would be left with enclaves surrounded by occupied territory.

“Mr Johnson reiterated the UK’s commitment to the two-state solution and our opposition to annexation proposals in the West Bank,” a Downing Street spokesman said on Tuesday.

“The prime minister urged President Abbas to engage in negotiations and offered the UK’s support to foster dialogue.

“The leaders agreed to continue to work together on this issue and others.”

Mr Johnson has written in an Israeli newspaper that the move was a “violation of international law”.

Other European countries, including France and Germany, have also expressed their opposition to the annexation plans, which were originally due to come into effect at the start of this month.

But July 1 passed without incident, prompting some speculation that the plans may not go ahead.

Israeli ministers have said they were still finalising details for the annexation to proceed this month.

On Monday, Jordan’s King Abdullah warned that annexation would fuel instability in the region.

He told British legislators that the only the path to lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace was an independent Palestinian state based on land captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.

"Any unilateral Israeli measure to annex lands in the West Bank is unacceptable, as it would undermine the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the Middle East," King Abdullah told MPs in a video meeting.

Most of the international community supports the two-state solution.

Updated: July 15, 2020 01:18 AM

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