Egypt, Germany, France and Jordan released a joint statement on Tuesday saying they categorically reject Israel’s plan to annex part of the West Bank, and that such a move “would violate international law and could also have an impact on relations with Israel. ”
After a joint videoconference, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Germany, France and Jordan said: “We exchanged views on the current state of the peace process in the Middle East and its regional impact. We unanimously believe that any annexation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would violate international law and endanger the foundations of the peace process. We would not recognize any change to the 1967 borders that would not have been accepted by both parties to the conflict.
“We also agree that such a decision would have serious consequences for the security and stability of the region and would constitute a major obstacle to efforts to achieve a full and just peace. It could also have an impact on relations with Israel. We underscore our firm commitment to a negotiated two-state solution based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. We have discussed how a constructive new start can be made between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and we offer our support to pave the way for negotiations, “the statement added.
After missing his July 1 target date to begin the annexation process, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he would continue to discuss the matter with the Trump administration.
In June, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned Netanyahu that other nations would impose sanctions on Israel, and possibly formally recognize a Palestinian state, if Israel materializes its intention to annex part of the West Bank.
In a meeting with Netanyahu, Deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Maas added that Germany was not enthusiastic about imposing retribution measures on Israel, but that other nations were pressuring the European Union to go in this direction.
In all of his meetings with Israeli officials during his visit, Maas stressed that the unilateral annexation violated international law and the decisions of the United Nations, and it would be difficult for Germany to support such a move. His remarks come after the Belgian parliament began appealing to the government in recent weeks for the purpose of recognizing a Palestinian state in response to the Israeli annexation. Other countries in Europe and Latin America are considering a similar approach.
Maas met Netanyahu one-on-one and discussed President Donald Trump’s plan for the Middle East, in which Netanyahu reaffirmed “the vital interests of Israel in any future arrangement, such as the need for control of complete security in western Jordan ”. The Prime Minister added that “any realistic plan must recognize the reality of the Israeli settlements on the ground and not harbor the illusion of displacing people from their homes”.