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  • Since 1967, more than 700,000 Israelis have moved into settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    Since 1967, more than 700,000 Israelis have moved into settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. | Photo: EFE

Published 23 April 2020

EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian territory

The United Nations and the European Union warned Israel on Thursday against annexing parts of the illegally occupied West Bank.

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The U.N.'s special Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said in a video briefing that such a move would come as a "devastating blow" to the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the same time, the E.U. declared that annexing Palestinian land "would constitute a serious violation of international law".

E.U.'s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian territory and that it will "continue to monitor the situation and its broader implications closely, and will act accordingly."

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement stipulating that plans to annex parts of the West Bank, including Israeli settlements, could go ahead starting July 1.

Israel already has military control over Palestinian territories it had seized after the 1967 war. The move would mean a de-facto annexation of lands Palestinians seek as part of an independent state.

The Netanyahu-Gantz deal states that Israel's move would need U.S. backing. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it was up to Israel whether to annex parts of the West Bank, adding that Washington would offer its views privately to Israel's new government. 

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In total disregard with international consensus, U.S. President Donald Trump -a close ally to Netanyahu- has been enforcing pro-Israel policies since he came to power in 2016.

The White House has moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, and declared that West Bank settlements are not illegal.

In January, Trump unveiled his "deal of the century," an alleged "peace" plan that was embraced by Israel and rejected by the Palestinians for awarding the Jewish state most of what it has sought during decades of conflict.

Because of Israel's increase in illegal settlement building and its efforts to consolidate control over Palestinian lands, Some Palestinians believe that the two-state solution has become a distant dream.

Some argue that current circumstances make a one-state solution with equal rights for both Israeli and Palestinian citizens the only realistic option.

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