World leaders including the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres have heavily condemned the plan by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to permanently seize Palestinian territory by annexing swathes of the West Bank.
This comes after Netanyahu announced recently that he will soon formally present an annexation plan to the country’s Parliament for the occupied territory, which comprises 30 percent of West Bank, a recognised territory of Palestine.
Critics say the plan, which was originally mooted by President Donald Trump of the United States, not only jeopardises the two-state solution between Israel and Palestine but will also undermine peace in the entire Middle-East.
And observers say that Netanyahu’s decision to bring forward the annexation plan to July 1, is aimed at taking advantage of President Donald’s remaining few months of his current term. Some anticipate that he could be defeated in November by the Democrat Joe Biden, because of his mishandling of the COVID-19 response.
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war and has built dozens of settlements that are now home to nearly 500,000 Israelis, but it never formally claimed it as an Israeli territory due to stiff international opposition.
The Palestinians, with wide international backing, seek the territory as the heartland of their future independent state.
The Trump administration has not only softened its stance on Israeli’s activity in West Bank, it has encourage rogue behaviour by supporting the annexation plan.
The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell is reportedly pushing for punitive measures against Israel should it push forward with its plans to annex parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, (the occupied terrotories) in accordance with the Trump administration Middle East ‘ peace plan’.
Although the EU Charter requires such any punishment to get unanimous support, opinion in the 27-member country bloc is divided withh Hungary, Romania, Bulgarua and the Czech Republic in support of Israel, while Germany, Sweeden, France and other countries are said to be opposed to Israel’s move.
Observers say European countries could push the bloc to end agreements with Israel that will undermine trade.
Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera has reported that more than 1,000 European parliamentarians have denounced Israel’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley saying the move would be “fatal to the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace”.
The MPs representing 25 European countries urged leaders to prevent the annexation process and save the prospects of a two-state solution.
“Acquisition of territory by force has no place in 2020 and must have commensurate consequences,” the letter published on Tuesday said, urging European leaders “to act decisively in response to this challenge.”