PARIS (AP) –
French President Emmanuel Macron urges Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to annex Palestinian territory to the West Bank, warning that it would violate international law and threaten long-term peace efforts.
The two leaders spoke by phone on Thursday, and Macron’s office said in a statement on Friday that it had told Netanyahu “to refrain from taking any steps to annex the Palestinian territories.” Macron also reiterated France’s commitment to Israel’s security and its determination to work to ease tensions in the region.
Tensions have been high in the West Bank in recent weeks as Israel pledged to continue its plans to annex up to 30% of the occupied territory, in accordance with President Donald Trump’s Middle East initiative.
Netanyahu seems determined to implement the plans, which have been hailed by the Israeli religious and nationalist right but condemned by the Palestinians and the international community.
The international community has invested billions of dollars in promoting a two-state solution since the Oslo Interim Peace Accords of the 1990s. The UN Secretary General, the European Union and major Arab countries have all said that any Israeli annexation would violate international law and significantly undermine the prospects for Palestinian independence.