Jordan king says Israel's annexation plans endanger regional peace

Jordan king says Israel's annexation plans endanger regional peace
3 min read
14 July, 2020
The Jordanian king is worried about Israel's plans to annex the West Bank.
King Abdullah expressed concerns about Israel [Getty]
Jordan's King Abdullah has waded into the fray with Israel again, and warned that annexing territory in the West Bank would fuel instability in the region, echoing critics who say the move violates international law.

The monarch told British lawmakers the only path to a comprehensive and lasting Middle East peace was the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, its borders based on land captured by Israel in the 1967 war, and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

"Any unilateral Israeli measure to annex lands in the West Bank is unacceptable, as it would undermine the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the Middle East," the monarch was quoted in a palace statement as telling British foreign and defence parliamentary committee members in a virtual meeting, Reuters reports.

Jordan has been part of a chorus of voices calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt his plans to annex the West Bank, which is part of a deal being promoted by US President Donald Trump’s administration.

Though King Abdullah is a staunch ally of the US, he has also warned that Israeli policies along with Trump's slated "Deal of the Century" peace plan could lead to conflict, and damage Israeli-Jordanian relations.

Jordan lost the West Bank including East Jerusalem to Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

It is the second Arab country after Egypt to sign a peace treaty with Israel and many of its more than 7 million citizens are of Palestinian origin.

French President Emmanuel Macron asked Netanyahu to refrain from annexing Palestinian territory in the West Bank and elsewhere during a telephone call between the two leaders, the French president's office said on Friday.

Macron "emphasised that such a move would contravene international law and jeopardise the possibility of a two-state solution as the basis of a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians", his office said in a statement after the call on Thursday.

It was the latest move by European leaders pressing Netanyahu to drop plans to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley.

The controversial move was endorsed in a Middle East plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January.

But Netanyahu's office said Friday that in the talks with Macron he "clarified that Israel is acting according to international law".

"Israel is prepared to hold peace negotiations on the basis of President Trump's plan," it said, reiterating a claim that "it is the Palestinian refusal to conduct negotiations based on this plan and on the plans of the past that is preventing progress".

Israel's government had set 1 July as the date when it could begin taking over the Palestinian areas, where the population of Israeli settlers has grown since the 1967 Six-Day War.

The foreign ministries of France and Germany, along with those of Egypt and Jordan - the only Arab states to have peace deals with Israel - warned this week that any annexation could have "consequences" for relations.

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