France asks Israel to drop West Bank annexation plans

11 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

PARIS: Emmanuel Macron asked Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refrain from annexing Palestinian territory in the West Bank and elsewhere during a telephone call between the two leaders, the French president’s office said on Friday, reports AFP.

Macron “emphasised that such a move would contravene international law and jeopardise the possibility of a two-state solution as the basis of a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians”, his office said in a statement after the call on Thursday.

It was the latest move by European leaders pressing Netanyahu to drop plans to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley.

The controversial move was endorsed in a Middle East plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January.

Israel’s government had set July 1 as the date when it could begin taking over the Palestinian areas, where the population of Israeli settlers has grown since the 1967 Six-Day War.

The foreign ministries of France and Germany, along with those of Egypt and Jordan — the only Arab states to have peace deals with Israel — warned this week that any annexation could have “consequences” for relations.

But Macron told Netanyahu that France remained committed to Israel’s security and “expressed his attachment to the friendship and confidence that links France and Israel”, his office said.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian civilian in the West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry said, reports AFP.  The ministry did not give any details as to the circumstances of the killing, stating only that “a civilian was killed by Israeli forces” after being shot in the neck at Kifl Hares, a village south of Nablus.

Provincial governor Abdullah Kamil named the victim as Ibrahim Moustapha Abou Yacoub, 29. The Israeli military, contacted by AFP, said that “two assailants were throwing Molotov cocktails at IDF (the Israel Defence Forces) guard posts”.


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