More than one thousand lawmakers from 25 European states have signed a statement opposing any unilateral annexation by Israel of West Bank territory. The legislators expressed support for the stance of European Union (EU) foreign policy Chief Josep Borrell that annexation “could not pass unchallenged.”
The European parliamentarians’ statement expressed “serious concerns” about the Trump administration’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians and the imminent prospect of Israeli annexation of occupied West Bank territory.
The statement was authored and disseminated for support by two Spanish members of the European Parliament, Idoia Villanueva (Podemos) and Manu Pineda (Izquierda Unida), both from the European United Left/Nordic Green Left alliance (GUE/NGL) and co-coordinators of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. In the statement they wrote: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Benny Grantz made annexation one of their key promises during the electoral campaign. Nevertheless, the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ is a fraud as it is not a deal but an imposition. The Palestinians have rejected it and the Palestinian authorities were not even consulted. The plan consists of intensifying and giving legal cover to the apartheid system that Israel has practiced over the past decades. Annexation is illegal and undermines international law as it breaks with the international consensus. The plan proposed by President Trump seeks to hand Israel complete control over the city of Jerusalem, de-facto legalize illegal settlements in the West Bank and annex the Jordan Valley.”
The statement goes on to say, “It is time for the EU to act. There is no time to lose. The statement that EU foreign policy Chief Borrell issued saying that ‘we strongly urge Israel to refrain from any unilateral decision that would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory and that would be, as such, contrary to international law’ is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. The EU must move from issuing press statements to taking concrete actions by suspending its Association Agreement with Israel on grounds of breach of Article 2, which demands the respect for human rights. There are other actions that the EU can take before the annexation is complete, such as the imposition of a ban on imports from illegal Israeli settlements or an end to arms trade with Israel. The EU should further suspend Israel’s participation in programs financed by the EU such as Erasmus+ or Horizon.”
“Mr Borrell must take effective measures to enforce United Nations Security Council resolution 2334, which states that Israeli settlements have no legal validity and are a flagrant violation of international law, demanding that Israel stop such activities and scrupulously comply with legal obligations and responsibilities incumbent upon it as the ‘Occupying Power’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Today, the European Union is the only international actor that can force genuine negotiations upon the parties involved. For there to be genuine conditions of equality, the EU must recognize the State of Palestine – with its capital in Jerusalem – and ask the same from member states. If the Netanyahu-Gantz government’s plan goes ahead, the achievement of this goal will become impossible. For all these reasons, GUE/NGL urges High Representative Borrell to use all the tools available to European foreign policy to stop this attack,” the statement concluded.
In another expression of opposition to the looming annexation, 120 members of the French parliament have co-signed a letter urging their president Emmanuel Macron to recognize the state of Palestine as a response to Israel’s impending plans to annex large part of the occupied West Bank. The signatories called for the necessity of imposing international sanctions on Israel if it implements its annexation plans, slamming such plans as a blatant violation of international law that constitute a real danger to regional peace and security. The letter also called for a collective European recognition of the State of Palestine, adding that if a collective European recognition is not possible, France should unilaterally recognize the State of Palestine. The parliamentarians noted that the Israeli government is trying to exploit the world’s preoccupation with confronting the Corona pandemic in order to pass its settlement plans instead of cooperating with its neighbors in facing the pandemic.