Annexation would represent a violation of global law: UKs Johnson warns Israel

Boris Johnson urges Israel not to go ahead with West Bank annexation

Johnson warns Israel against plans to annex part of West Bank

Israeli leaders had decided in May that cabinet and parliamentary deliberations on extending sovereignty to West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley, in coordination with the Trump administration, could begin as of July 1.

Boris Johnson has implored Israel to abandon its controversial plan to annex parts of the West Bank, warning that the move would embolden the Jewish state's enemies and risk destabilising the Middle East. "Annexation would only take us further away from it".

Johnson, in an op-ed piece that appeared in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, asserted that annexation threatens budding ties between Israel and the Arab world.

Trump's proposal calls for Israeli sovereignty over about 30% of the West Bank - land on which Israel has been building settlements for decades - as well as creation of a Palestinian state under strict conditions.

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The Palestinians say it will destroy their hopes of a viable future state.

There are so many reasons why Netanyahu is happy with the plan, and so many why the Palestinians disagree.

"As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel's borders and will be contrary to Israel's own long-term interests", the British prime minister wrote. "If it does, the United Kingdom will not recognize any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties".

A lengthy delay or scaling down of annexation would be politically embarrassing for Netanyahu, who has often hailed the "historic opportunity" for Israel provided by the Trump plan.

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He did not make any mention however of the Palestinians' refusal to negotiate with Israel. Palestinians have firmly rejected this plan.

Many political leaders and rights advocates have warned Israel that annexing the West Bank would not only violate Palestinian rights and global law, it could also cause massive conflict in the region. Israel now has full control over 60% of the West Bank.

But worldwide opposition has mounted in the past few weeks, with Palestinian leaders, the United Nations, European powers and Arab countries rejecting the annexation of land captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

That statement neglected to mention that talks between the Joint List and the former iteration of the Blue and White party that included Lapid and Ya'alon were led by Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's current coalition partner and the country's defense minister.

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Gantz, who has said that the annexation "will wait" while Israel deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, also said earlier this week that the July 1 target date for the announcement is not "sacred".

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