France, Germany, Egypt and Jordan today issued a joint statement criticizing Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank.
In the declaration, the countries said that the annexation of the Palestinian territory that Israel has controlled since 1967 would undermine peace.
“We agree that any annexation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would constitute a violation of international law and would jeopardize the foundations of the peace process,” the countries said in a statement issued by the German foreign ministry.
Israel planned to start annexing parts of the West Bank on July 1, but a series of political roadblocks within the Israeli government and with the United States made the date come and go without any movement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to annex the Jordan Valley and the Jewish settlements there, but there is some disagreement in the unity government he leads. The Palestinians and much of the international community oppose this decision, while the United States supports it conditionally.
Israel is under increasing pressure from regional and international actors as annexation appears to be weakening. Jordan, which has a peace treaty with Israel, is adamantly against the annexation and was relieved that nothing happened on July 1. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a friend of Israel, wrote an editorial in an Israeli newspaper last week urging against the annexation. Politicians in the United Arab Emirates, who warmed up in Israel over the conflict with Iran, also opposed the move.
This statement is important because it gives Jordan support for its position. Jordan controlled the West Bank before Israel, and its population was largely drawn from the Palestinians who left during the first Arab-Israeli war of 1947-48.
The letter also indicates opposition from Egypt, which is an important neighbor to Israel. The Egyptian government shares Israel’s concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and is the only other Arab country besides Jordan to have full diplomatic relations with Israel.
The letter did not specify any action that would be taken if Israel went ahead with the annexation, but said “it could also affect relations with Israel”. He also called for a two-state solution to the conflict.