Five EU powers 'concerned' over annexation announcement

Overall muted response, said Israeli official, perhaps due to pre-election timing.

September 13, 2019 13:30
1 minute read.
People wave European union flags

European Union flags flutter as people take part in the demonstration "One Europe for all", a rally against nationalism across the European Union, in Vienna, Austria, May 19, 2019.. (photo credit: LISI NIESNER)

France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom issued a statement on Friday expressing “deep concern” at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement Tuesday of intention to annex the Jordan Valley.

“We are deeply concerned about the announcement of possible annexation of areas in the West Bank, particularly the Jordan valley and the northern portion of the Dead Sea,” the statement read.

“This would, if implemented, constitute a serious breach of international law. France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom will continue to call on all parties to refrain from actions in contravention of international law that would imperil the viability of a two-state solution, based on the 1967 lines, and make it harder to achieve a just and lasting peace.”

The statement said that the five countries “are clear about Israel’s right to security and strongly condemn recent attacks on Israel from Gaza.”

Interestingly, the statement came in the name of those five countries, and not the whole 28-member EU. While the EU did not issue a formal condemnation, an EU spokesperson was quoted this week as saying that the EU “will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.”

"The policy of settlement construction and expansion, including in East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law and its continuation, and actions taken in this context undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for lasting peace," the spokesperson told Euronews.

One Israeli diplomatic official said that – overall – the responses around the world to Netanyahu's announcement were rather muted, attributing this in part to the fact that it came out a week before the election campaign and was viewed largely as a campaign promise.

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