A senior UK envoy to the United Nations has shared Britain’s “concern” about reports from Israel that large parts of the West Bank are to be annexed this summer.
During the most recent UN Security Council briefing on the Middle East peace process late last week, acting deputy permanent representative Ambassador James Roscoe said the UK viewed Israel’s proposed unilateral annexation as illegal.
“Any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and would be contrary to international law,” he said, adding that the UK supported a negotiated settlement “based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps”.
His concerns were echoed by the European Union’s foreign affairs representative Joseph Borrell, who said the EU “reiterates that any annexation would constitute a serious violation of international law”. Germany also raised similar alarm, while the French ambassador said Israeli annexation “would not pass unchallenged”.
Nikolay Mladenov, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said Israeli annexation would “constitute a serious violation of international law” that could “ignite the situation”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that “the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions,” which appeared to give Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz the green light to declare vast swathes of the West Bank to be sovereign Israeli territory in July.