Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his confidence Sunday that the United States would give him the approval within two months to go ahead with the annexation of parts of the illegally occupied West Bank.
UN, EU Warn New Israeli Gov't Against West Bank Annexation
“A couple of months from now I am confident that that pledge will be honored,” Netanyahu told the European Commission for Israel, describing that the U.S. peace proposal announced by President Donald Trump in January is a promise to recognize Israel’s authority over the illegal settlement land.
Palestinians and the international community have flatly rejected the Trump proposal as it authorizes all illegal claims and settlements made by Israel and its Jewish settlers in Palestinian lands. The United Nations and the European Union also warned Israel last week against annexing the territory.
The U.N.'s Special Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said 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 European Union declared that annexing Palestinian land "would constitute a serious violation of international law."
The bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU 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."
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday it was up to Israel whether to annex parts of the West Bank and said that Washington would offer its views privately to its new government.
Annexation of the West Bank Is up to Israel: US State Secretary
This comes as the new coalition government between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz states that plans to annex the Jordan Valley and illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank could move on starting July 1 under the condition of Washington’s approval.
Israel already has military control over Palestinian territories it had seized after the 1967 war.
The move would thus mean a de-facto annexation as Jewish settlements in the West Bank and their acquisition by force are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention that bars an occupying power from transferring parts of its civilian population to occupied territory.
Late in 2016, the United Nations Security Council declared that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are a "flagrant violation under international law."
Palestinian officials offered no immediate comment on Netanyahu's remarks.