By Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel—
Several European leaders reportedly sent personal letters to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent days asking him not to push ahead with plans to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank.
“I ask you, in a spirit of friendship, that your new government not take unilateral action . Such a move would destabilize the Middle East,” French President Emmanuel Macron told Netanyahu, according to a report aired Tuesday on Channel 13. “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 settlements across the West Bank — territory much of the international community wants to see become a Palestinian state — and how to punish it if it ignores their warnings and carries out the annexation, according to the report.
According to the coalition agreement on which Israel’s new government was founded, Netanyahu can bring the annexation plan to a vote in the government and the Knesset as soon as July 1, as long as it’s done in full coordination with the US. The administration of US President Donald Trump has vowed to recognize Israel’s annexation as long as Jerusalem does it on the basis of the peace plan issued by Washington earlier this year.
According to the network, Palestinian leaders are concerned that leading Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Gulf states, have reacted with seeming indifference about the prospect of annexation.
While Jordan has threatened to review its ties with Israel over the annexation plans, most other Arab states have made little fuss.
Citing an unnamed Palestinian source, Channel 13 said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, having severed security ties with Israel, may resort to still more dramatic measures if Israel presses ahead with unilateral annexation, including dismantling the PA.
Last week, Abbas announced the end of security cooperation with Israel in reaction to the annexation plans, in what was seen as his most extreme move yet to attempt to thwart Israeli intentions to claim sovereignty over areas the Palestinians seek for their future state.
On Monday, Netanyahu reportedly told lawmakers from his Likud faction that he was sticking to plans to begin the annexation process on July 1, rebuffing domestic and international pressure against the move. Continue Reading….