Unilateral measures by Israel to annex parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley will have consequences for its relations with the European Union, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.
The annexation of parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley as part of US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” was a central promise in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last election campaign. Former political rivals Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi who have become allies have also expressed support for the administration’s plan.
Drian stressed in his statement that “France remains fully ready to support any effort to resume negotiations between the parties, the only path to regional peace, security and stability,” and congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his deputy, Benny Gantz for their success. by forming a government.
He urged Israel to refrain from “any unilateral measure which would lead to the annexation of all or part of the Palestinian territories”, since such action “could not be without consequences for the European Union’s relations with Israel”.
In the statement, Le Drian said that France “reaffirms its willingness to continue working with the new Israeli government in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic”, as well as “its unwavering commitment to the security of Israel and its commitment alongside Israel for Security. “
Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli foreign ministry criticized the EU for practicing “megaphone diplomacy” after the union’s foreign policy chief warned against annexing parts of the West Bank.
It is “regrettable that once again, the security of Israel, a key partner of the EU, and the threats facing Israel, were not mentioned at all and were not given centrality [sic] in such a message, “said the statement from the Israeli foreign ministry.
“This ég megaphone diplomacy’ does not replace an intimate diplomatic dialogue and will not advance the role the EU seeks to fulfill, “he said.
On Monday, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrel, reiterated that he “would not recognize any change at the 1967 borders without the agreement of the Israelis and the Palestinians”.
“We note with deep concern the provision … on the annexation of parts of the occupied Palestinian territories,” the statement added. “We urge Israel to refrain from any unilateral decision which would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory and would, as such, be contrary to international law. Borrell’s original statement was supported by all members of the European Union, except Hungary.
The annexation of parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley was a central promise in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last election campaign. Although Kahol Lavan keeps the matter at arm’s length, Benny Gantz and co-leader Gabi Ashkenazi, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, have expressed support for the Trump administration’s peace plan. A major element of the plan is the transfer of parts of the West Bank to Israeli sovereignty.
In his first speech as minister on Monday, Ashkenazi said he saw the plan as “a historic opportunity to shape the future of the state of Israel for decades to come.” He also pledged to improve relations with Jordan, despite repeated claims by Amman that the annexation would be unacceptable.