Tuesday, 6 Dec 2022 - 12 of Kislev, 5783

The EU says annexation of parts of the West Bank ‘will not be left unanswered’

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The Netanyahu-Gantz agreement sets a date of July 1 from which the process to annex parts of the West Bank, as envisioned in the Trump administration’s peace plan, can begin.

Under the Trump plan, Israel can expect to receive the United States’ support for the application of Israeli sovereignty over all settlements in the territory as well as the Jordan Valley, which lies along the border with Jordan.

‘’We noticed of course that an agreement was made on the future coalition government and we are looking forward to working with this government once in the office,” says EU spokesperson Peter Stano.

On Wednesday, in his first reaction to the Israeli government agreement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Israel ‘’will decide whether and when to annex parts of the West Bank.’’

 

”We see annexation as not in line with international law and a breach of international law and as it was stressed several times, if this proceeds, it will not be left unanswered,’’ said Peter Stano, the EU foreign affairs spokesperson, as he responded questions from journalists during the daily EU Commission press briefing on the new Israeli government.

He declared: ‘’We noticed of course that an agreement was made on the future coalition government and we are looking forward to working with this government once in the office. There are still necessary procedures to make this happen.So at this stage we won’t go into speculations.’’

He then referred to questions about the possible annexation of parts of the West Bank, which is foreseen in the coalition agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’ Blue and White parties, by saying: ‘”The position of the EU has not changed. I would refer you to the latest statements by High Representative (Josep Borrell)  or by the EU on the issue of annexation. We see annexation as not in line with international law and a breach of international law and as it was stressed several times indeed if this proceeds, it will not be left unanswered.’’

The Netanyahu-Gantz agreement sets a date of July 1 from which the process to annex parts of the West Bank, as envisioned in the Trump administration’s peace plan, can begin.

Under the Trump plan, Israel can expect to receive the United States’ support for the application of Israeli sovereignty over all settlements in the territory as well as the Jordan Valley, which lies along the border with Jordan.

The new government agreement does not spell out exactly which bits of territory are earmarked for annexation, but instead commits Netanyahu and Gantz to approach the issue “with the full understanding of the US … and with international dialogue in the matter.”

On Wednesday, in his first reaction to the Israeli government agreement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Israel ‘’will decide whether and when to annex parts of the West Bank.’’

“As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis ultimately make those decisions, so that’s an Israeli decision,” he told a press briefing.

“We will work closely with them to share with them our views on this in a private setting,” he added.

Pompeo said he was glad there is now a “fully formed” government in Israel.

A new government has yet to be sworn in, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement on Monday night.

 

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