Far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doubling down on his plans to speedily annex Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu told a Likud party Knesset faction meeting this week that he “will not change” the target date for unilateral annexation of occupied West Bank territory — this July. Referring to US Donald Trump’s presidency, Netanyahu called the coming months an “historic opportunity” for annexation.
However, European leaders are advising Israel about the consequences of such a move: Over the past few days, the President of France and the prime ministers of the UK, Spain, and Italy have written letters to Netanyahu, warning him against unilateral annexation.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash) reached out on Wednesday, May 27, to Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, a leading proponent of having the European Union invoke sanctions on Israel if it proceeds with annexation. Jabareen said Asselborn told him “annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories violates international law and threatens regional peace.” Jabareen suggested that the Europeans organize an international conference to advance the two-state solution.
According to a report aired Tuesday, May26, on Israel’s Channel 13, French President Emmanuel Macron wrote to Netanyahu, “I ask you, in a spirit of friendship, that your new government not take unilateral action in the West Bank. Such a move would destabilize the Middle East.” Macron continued, “Only dialogue with the Palestinians and a just and balanced solution will provide Israel with peace, security and stability.” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and their Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte reportedly sent Netanyahu letters expressing similar sentiments.
Several European nations are currently considering ways to deter Israel from moving forward with its declared intention to “apply sovereignty” to the entire Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements across the West Bank — territory destined (in the framework of a two-state solution) to become part of the Palestinian state — and how to punish Israel if it ignores their warnings and carries out the annexation, according to the Channel 13 report.
The coalition agreement on which Israel’s new government was founded stipulates that Netanyahu can bring his annexation plan to a vote in the government and the Knesset as early as July 1, as long as it’s done in full coordination with the US imperialism.