Europe’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell strongly urged Israel not to annex portions of the West Bank in a statement he issued upon the formation of the 35th Israeli government which was sworn in this week.“We strongly urge Israel to refrain from any unilateral decision that would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory and would be, as such, contrary to International Law,” Borrell said in a statement he issued Monday that the support of all but two of the EU’s 27 member states. France endorsed Borrell’s statement and issued harsh language of its own on the matter.“Any unilateral measure which would lead to the annexation of all or part of the Palestinian Territories,” it warned, “could not be without consequences for the European Union’s relations with Israel.”Borrell spoke in the aftermath of a Knesset pledge by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apply Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements and his statement to the government that he would soon ask it to approve such a plan.“We note with grave concern the provision – to be submitted for approval by the Israeli cabinet – on the annexation of parts of occupied Palestinian territories, as stated by the prime minister when presenting his government to the Knesset on 17 May and as envisaged in the coalition agreement signed earlier,” Borrell said.He spoke out on the matter in a public message in which he welcomed the formation of Israel’s 35th government, even as he immediately attacked one of its key agenda items.“We look forward to continuing working with the Israeli government in a constructive and comprehensive way, in the spirit of the longstanding friendship that binds us to Israel, in order to develop our relationship in all areas,” Borrell said. Among the partnership issues he listed were COVID-19 and education as well as research and development.He also pledged EU support to help reignite an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that includes “meaningful negotiations between the two parties.”The EU has consistently supported the Palestinian Authority’s position that a peace process must revolve around a two-state solution based at the pre-1967 lines. Israel is engaged in a US-led peace process that does not involve the pre-1967 lines and calls instead for a Palestinian state on 70% of the West Bank.“The EU and its member states recall that they will not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders unless agreed by Israelis and Palestinians. The two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital for both states, is the only way to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region,” Borrell said.The Foreign Ministry thanked Borrell for welcoming in the new Israeli government and acknowledged the EU’s strong ties with Israel, with which it shares “history, values, interests, opportunities” and common threats.“It is regrettable,” the Foreign Ministry said however, “that once again, the security of Israel, a key partner of the EU, and the threats that Israel face, were not mentioned at all and were not given the centrality that they should be in such a message.”“As Foreign Minister [Gabi] Ashkenazi said in his remarks on taking office yesterday, we expect a significant dialogue with our allies in Europe,” the Foreign Ministry said. “This “megaphone diplomacy” is not a substitute for intimate diplomatic dialogue and will not advance the role the EU is seeking to fulfill,” it added.Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said that Borrell’s statement had the support of 25 out of the 27 European Union members and was the result of an initiative he spearheaded with his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney.“I strongly regret that due to the opposition of only two Member States, we were unable to adopt this balanced statement as an EU-declaration at 27 on such a crucial topic for the credibility of the common foreign and security policy of the European Union.”“This statement reflects the strong agreement among Member States on the EU’s responsibility in advancing the Middle East Peace Process, as well as in upholding international law and the international rules-based order,” Asselborn wrote."I welcome the fact that 25 EU Member States supported this statement, which is the result of an initiative I took with my Irish colleague Simon Coveney on 12 May. I strongly regret that due to the opposition of only two Member States, we were unable to adopt this balanced statement as an EU-declaration at 27 on such a crucial topic for the credibility of the common foreign and security policy of the European Union.”Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also spoke out against annexation in his message to the new Israeli government. He tweeted that he had congratulated both with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and made his views known on annexation.“Reconfirmed Dutch-Israeli friendship, and underlined that [the Netherlands] does not see a viable alternative to an Israeli-Palestinian negotiated two-state-solution,” Rutte wrote.While there is common EU understanding with regard to a two-state resolution to the conflict based on the pre-1967 lines, the 27-member states are divided on whether to sanction Israel over annexation. It has not even gained consensus to issue a strongly worded statement on the matter.A Friday video meeting of foreign ministers on the matter ended without any common agreement on action.Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also alluded to his country’s displeasure at Israeli annexation moves, when he issued a congratulatory note to Israel. Canada has been a staunch Israeli ally.“Canada and Israel share a long history as close friends, as well as partners in international organizations,” Trudeau said, noting that the two countries benefit from a free trade treaty.“I look forward to continuing to work closely with the new Israeli government to further strengthen the close relationship enjoyed by our two countries,” Trudeau said. Then he added that “in these times of uncertainty, our commitment to international law and the rules-based international order is more important than ever.”It’s presumed that the statement alludes to annexation, which many in the international community hold would be contrary to international law.Jordan, which vehemently opposes annexation, was much more blunt, noting that its foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, had spoken with his Norwegian and Danish counterparts. The conversations were part of a Jordanian initiative to obtain international opposition to Israeli annexation plans.