Monday, 13 Jul 2020 - 21 of Tammuz, 5780

Austrian FM says his country would reject an Israeli unilateral annexation of the West Bank

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Alexander Schallenberg’s statement came despite the fact that Austria blocked last month a statement on the matter that was to be issued by the European Union Foreign Ministers.

Israeli diplomatic circles expressed disappointment over statements made by Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg who said that Austria would reject Israel’s unilateral annexation of the West Bank ‘’because a one-sided expansion of one’s own territory violates international law.’’
Austria is among the staunchest allies of Israel within the European Union.

“The unilateral expansion of territory is against international law and numerous resolutions of the United Nations Security Council since 1967,” Schallenberg told Die Presse.

“There are no doubts about the Austrian position regarding annexation,” the minister  said, adding that he had made his country’s position clear to the new Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

Schallenberg’s statement came despite the fact that Austria blocked last month a statement on the matter that was to be issued by the European Union Foreign Ministers.

On May 18, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell issued his own statement warning Israel about the annexation because there was no consensus on it among the EU’s 27 member states, reportedly because of the opposition of Austria, Hungary and other member states.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week he has set a July 1 date for when Israel will extend its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (West Bank) settlements and the Jordan Valley.

The move would be coordinated with the US, in accordance with the Middle East plan Trump unveiled in January, which endorsed extending Israeli sovereignty over roughly 30 percent of the West Bank.

Another Foreign Minister of one of Israel’s allies in the EU also issued statements opposing the unilateral annexation plan.

Czech Republic Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček on Saturday published an op-ed in the Pravo daily newspaper together with Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and senior MP Karel Schwarzenberg affirming their country’s strong alliance with Israel but arguing that the new government’s annexation plan was not only ‘’a grave and unacceptable violation of international law’’ but also ‘’raises serious questions about the future of Israel as a democracy.’’

But the op-ed drew criticism from the Prime Minister Andrej Babis who said he was he was not consulted before its publication.

Czech President Milos Zeman issued a statement denouncing the op-ed as disruptive of Prague’s relations with Jerusalem and Washington.

“This article is a denial of the current foreign policy of the Czech Republic towards the State of Israel,” the president’s spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček said.

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1 Comment

  1. Clayton Miller on

    Austria need not worry about Israel “annexing” any land for a simple reason; it already belongs to Israel under international law.

    Specifically, Article 6 of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (preserved Article 80 under U.N. Charter) calls for “close Jewish settlement” on the land West of the Jordan river.

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