UN, Arab League urge Israel to abandon annexation plans
A general view shows ongoing construction work in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. AFP
The United Nations and the Arab League joined in calling Wednesday for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
The calls were made during a UN Security Council video conference in which several government ministers participated. It was the last international meeting before Israel goes ahead with the plans as early as July 1. "I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
He reiterated the longstanding goal of a two-state solution with an independent, contiguous, sovereign and viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit said annexation "will destroy any prospect for peace in the future."
"The possible move by the Israeli government to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory would constitute, if implementated, a serious threat to regional stability," he added.
The UN coordinator for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov said annexation "could irrevocably alter the nature of Israeli-Palestinian relations." He added: "It risks up-ending more than a quarter of a century of international efforts in support of a future viable Palestinian state living in peace, security and mutual recognition with the State of Israel."
Plans are to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley, as part of a broader US blueprint for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan -- endorsed by Washington -- would see the creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory, and without Palestinians' core demand of a capital in east Jerusalem.
The plan has been rejected in its entirety by the Palestinians.