Ne­tanyahu’s an­nex­a­tion plan an ag­gres­sion: Arabs

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Arab for­eign min­is­ters con­demned a plan by Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu to an­nex parts of the oc­cu­pied West Bank as “ag­gres­sion” un­der­min­ing any chances of a peace setle­ment with the Pales­tini­ans.

Ne­tanyahu said he planned to an­nex the Jor­dan Val­ley, a large swathe of the oc­cu­pied West Bank, if he wins a closely con­tested election just a week away.

Th eu a eh as ex­pressed its strong con­dem­na­tion and cat­e­gor­i­cal re­jec­tion of an an­nounce­ment by Ne­tanyahu on the planned an­nex­a­tion of land from the oc­cu­pied West Bank to Is­rael in the event of an election win.

Sheikh Ab­dul­lah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion, stated that this an­nounce­ment rep­re­sents a danger­ous es­ca­la­tion that vi­o­lates all in­ter­na­tional res­o­lu­tions with­out the slight­est re­gard for their le­git­i­macy by un­der­min­ing the no­ble in­ten­tions of those in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity work­ing to­wards a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion to the pales­tinian is­sue.

Sheikh Ab­dul­lah Bin Zayed un­der­scored that this dec­la­ra­tion threat­ens to un­der­mine decades of po­lit­i­cal efforts by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to achieve a fair and just res­o­lu­tion to the Pales­tinian is­sue, em­pha­siz­ing the mater’s cen­tral­ity to Arabs and Mus­lims.

Sheikh Ab­dul­lah Bin Zayed af­firmed the UAE’S wel­com­ing and im­me­di­ate re­sponse to calls by the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia to con­vene an emer­gency meet­ing of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion to discuss this danger­ous es­ca­la­tion and de­velop an ur­gent plan of ac­tion, adding that ad­dress­ing this dec­la­ra­tion by PM Ne­tanyahu is a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity that re­quires the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to take nec­es­sary ac­tion against this alarm­ing de­vel­op­ment.

Is­rael cap­tured the West Bank in a 1967 war and Pales­tini­ans, who signed in­terim peace deals with Is­rael in the 1990s that in­clude se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion, seek to make it part of a fu­ture state.

The Arab League “con­sid­ers his an­nounce­ment a danger­ous de­vel­op­ment and a new Is­raeli ag­gres­sion by declar­ing the in­ten­tion to vi­o­late the in­ter­na­tional law,” Arab for­eign min­is­ters said in a state­ment ater a meet­ing in Cairo. “The league re­gards these state­ments as un­der­min­ing the chances of any progress in the peace process and will tor­pedo all its foun­da­tions,” the state­ment said.

Arab for­eign min­is­ters had been hold­ing a meet­ing in Cairo, seat of the Arab League, but added an emer­gency ses­sion ater Ne­tanyahu made his com­ments on live tele­vi­sion.

Around 65,000 Pales­tini­ans and 11,000 Is­raeli set­tlers live in the Jor­dan Val­ley and north­ern Dead Sea area, ac­cord­ing to the Is­raeli hu­man rights group B’tse­lem. The main Pales­tinian city is Jeri­cho, with around 28 vil­lages and smaller Be­douin com­mu­ni­ties.

Jor­da­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Ay­man Safadi on Twiter called Ne­tanyahu’s plan a “se­ri­ous es­ca­la­tion”. Jor­dan and Egypt are the only Arab states to have peace treaties with Is­rael.

Hanan Ashrawi, a se­nior of­fi­cial in the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, wrote on Twiter that the Is­raeli leader was out to im­pose a “greater Is­rael on all of his­tor­i­cal Pales­tine and (carry) out an eth­nic cleans­ing agenda”.

Fight­ing for his po­lit­i­cal life ater an in­con­clu­sive election in April, Ne­tanyahu also reaf­firmed a pledge to an­nex all of the set­tle­ments Is­rael has es­tab­lished in the West Bank.

White House se­nior ad­viser Jared Kush­ner said in early May that he hoped Is­rael would take a hard look at Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s up­com­ing Mid­dle East peace pro­posal be­fore “pro­ceed­ing with any plan” to an­nex West Bank set­tle­ments.

Saudi Ara­bia con­demned Ne­tanyahu’s com­ments and called for an emer­gency meet­ing of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion, state news agency SPA said.

Pales­tini­ans till­ing the fer­tile Jor­dan Val­ley said they have been rooted for gen­er­a­tions to the West Bank land that Ne­tanyahu plans to an­nex, and they vowed never to give it up. “We tell Ne­tanyahu, and who­ever fol­lows him, you will not break the Pales­tini­ans’ will, you will never break our will, never, never,” said Has­san Al-abedi, a 55-year-old farmer who lives in the vil­lage of Jit­lik.

“It’s our par­ents’ and grand­par­ents’ land. We will hold onto it no mater what it costs.” Draw­ing con­dem­na­tion from Pales­tinian and other Arab lead­ers, the right-wing Ne­tanyahu an­nounced on Tues­day that he plans to “ap­ply Is­raeli sovereignt­y” to the Jor­dan Val­ley and ad­ja­cent north­ern Dead Sea if he pre­vails in what is shap­ing up as a tough ba­tle for re-election on Sept. 17.

UAE ex­pressed its strong con­dem­na­tion and cat­e­gor­i­cal re­jec­tion of the an­nounce­ment by the Is­raeli PM on the planned an­nex­a­tion of land. Sheikh Ab­dul­lah said it threat­ens to un­der­mine decades of po­lit­i­cal ef­fort by the world com­mu­nity.

Agence France-presse

↑ Is­raeli work­ers de­mol­ish Pales­tinian homes in the vil­lage of Mufa­gara, south of Yatta, near He­bron, West Bank, on Wed­nes­day.

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