European parliamentarians write letter against Israeli annexation of West Bank

The letter rebukes the Trump administration's support for a partial annexation of Palestinian territory.

al-monitor Demonstrators hold flags as they take part in a rally organized by the Palestinian Liberation Organization to protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in Jericho, June 22, 2020.  Photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.

Jun 24, 2020

More than 1,000 European parliamentarians wrote a letter yesterday advocating against Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank.

The letter is addressed to European leaders, and calls on them to “act decisively” in preventing annexation by deliberating with international actors on the issue. It was signed by 1,080 parliamentarians from 25 European countries, including the United Kingdom.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory starting in July, and also wants to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank. Annexation enjoys support from the Israeli right, but many Palestinians say it will destroy their prospects for statehood. Much of the international community considers the West Bank, which Israel captured during the 1967 war from Jordan, as occupied by Israel.

The United States is open to annexation as part of the Donald Trump administration’s peace plan, but under certain conditions. The plan allows for Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, but also envisions an eventual Palestinian state. The Trump administration has been insisting that the partner of Netanyahu’s Likud party in the unity government, the Blue and White party, agree to annexation before it is to move forward.

The letter reads, “Regrettably, President Trump’s plan departs from internationally agreed parameters and principles” and says annexation will erode Palestinian sovereignty.

“It promotes effectively permanent Israeli control over a fragmented Palestinian territory, leaving Palestinians with no sovereignty and giving a green light to Israel to unilaterally annex significant parts of the West Bank,” reads the letter.

Some signatories are members of their respective countries’ parliaments, while others are in the European Parliament of the European Union.

International opposition to annexation is growing louder as July nears. In an unprecedented op-ed in an Israeli newspaper this month, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al-Otaiba, said that annexation would harm Israel’s desire for improved ties with the Arab world. Jordan’s King Abdullah is also vocally against the plan.

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