Far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of his Likud party Monday, August 3, that plans for annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank is “in Washington, it’s not off the table,” and that the “possibility still exists,” adding that the White House “needs to back it.”
On the same day, the European Union and 15 European countries renewed their opposition to Israeli plans to advance annexation and construction plans in areas of the Palestinian occupied territories near Jerusalem. It was their second protest letter on the matter since May. The individual countries and the EU expressed their “grave concerns regarding the advancement of settlement construction in Givat Hamatos and potentially in the E1 area” in a démarche filed with Israel’s Foreign Ministry. “Settlements are illegal under International Humanitarian Law. Any further settlement construction in this strategically sensitive area will have a devastating impact on a contiguous Palestinian State, as well as severely undermining the possibility of a negotiated two-state solution in line with internationally agreed parameters,” the démarche stated. The 15 countries that signed the démarche are France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.
The construction in the E1, an area between occupied East Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, and Givat Hamatos settlements would severely undermine the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state. Netanyahu pledged days before the last general elections in March to advance plans to build thousands of homes in both areas, which have long been frozen amid international opposition.
On July 20, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized that his country’s position on the Palestine question in consistent and clear. He stressed his country’s rejection of Israel’s endeavors to annex large swaths of the occupied West Bank and of any unilateral measures that undermine the prospects of peace and stability.
Speaking over the phone with President Mahmoud Abbas, Xi emphasized, as reported by Xinhua, that his country supports the two-state solution as the right direction and the creation of the Palestinian state, he reaffirmed China’s support to the establishment of the independent and sovereign State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Abbas underscored Palestine’s eagerness to reinforce bilateral historic relations with China, and commended China on its positions in support of peace making based on the UN resolutions and rejection of unilateral moves in violation of UN resolutions, particularly Israel’s annexation move.
Related: Posts on Israel’s Annexation Plans