Russia: Israeli annexation may lead to escalation in region

PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat told the CIA on Thursday the coordination with the agency "stopped as of the end of [Abbas's] speech."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting in Moscow, Russia (photo credit: SERGEI KARPUKHIN/REUTERS)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting in Moscow, Russia
(photo credit: SERGEI KARPUKHIN/REUTERS)
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank may lead to an escalation of violence in the region.

"Such expansionist moves by Israel may provoke a dangerous wave of violence across the Palestinian territories and de-stabilize the Middle East as a whole," the ministry's press office said in a statement.

"The Russian side has warned its Israeli partners about carrying out unilateral plans that do not adhere to the international framework of Middle-Eastern de-escalation."

According to the ministry, an Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley and other areas in the West Bank will "undermine the territorial integrity of the West Bank, which is crucial for the sustainability of a future Palestinian states based on the [pre-]1967 borders."

The ministry added it "reiterates Russia's principal position of supporting a comprehensive and sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution within the given international legal conditions."

Amid rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), Russia called upon "all sides to refrain from any steps that may provoke a new dangerous escalation in the region, hindering the creation of conditions allowing for the re-opening of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

On Tuesday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced the PA "absolved" itself of all agreements signed with Israel and the United States due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz including the annexation in their cabinet agreement.

PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat told the CIA on Thursday the coordination with the agency "stopped as of the end of the president's speech."

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the Federation "maintains contact with UN, EU and US representatives in order to hold a meeting [on the subject], possibly including interested Arab states and the Arab League."

On Thursday, Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz threatened Jordan would review its relationship with Israel if the state carries out the annexation of areas in the West Bank, according to AFP.

"We will not accept unilateral Israeli moves to annex Palestinian lands and we would be forced to review all aspects of our relations with Israel," the official said.

Jordanian King Abdullah II said last week in an interview with Der Spiegel an Israeli annexation of the Jordan valley will lead to a "massive confrontation" with the Hashemite Kingdom.
The Russian Federation annexed Crimea in 2014 amid the Ukrainian civil war, in a move broadly condemned by the international community, leading to its military confrontation with Ukraine continuing to this day.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.