By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Israel is moving ahead with an “annexation” plan for the West Bank. It is convoluted and unclear and comes amid chaos in the US and the Covid pandemic. Israel will not grant citizenship to Palestinians who live in areas that will be annexed, according to reports.
While the US has supported Israel’s decision to go ahead with annexation or “applying sovereignty,” most countries are opposed to it. Some have remained silent, which may indicate quiet support or acceptance. This list is not comprehensive, but it attempts to include many high profile comments, including from within Israel. It does not include all the arguments in favor of it because most of those are internal to Israel, it is intended as a handy reference for most of the police statements regarding the idea.
Who is, mostly, against it
April 30 the Arab League slams Israeli plans to annex West Bank.
May 5 Saudi Arabia opposes Israeli plans.
May 11: The United ArabEmirates expressed concern about Israel’s desire to annex Palestinian lands. The concern was posted in Arabic media and notes that the UAE’s foreign minister has slammed such a unilateral step that would go against a long-lasting political solution. Abu Dhabi’s stance is not particularly harsh. It states that unilateral steps can hinder the chances of a lasting peace. Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, have both critiqued the Israeli plan.
“France is urging its EuropeanUnion partners to consider threatening Israel with a tough response if it goes ahead with a de facto annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria, three EU diplomats said.” May 12.
Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg also want to discuss the possibility of punitive economic measures during a foreign ministers’ meeting, May 12.
European Union spokesman said May 12: “Annexation is contrary to international law and if annexation goes ahead, the EU will act accordingly.”; European Union will work to “discourage” any Israeli initiative toward the annexation of parts of the West Bank and devote diplomatic efforts for a solution, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said this weekend.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a visit to Israel, May 13 “speaking to the Israel Hayom newspaper, Pompeo said he told Israeli leaders to “consider all factors” in their annexation plans and the “many other issues related to it – how to deal with all the factors involved, and how to make sure the move is done properly to bring about an outcome in accordance with the vision of peace.”
Canada’s Trudeau expresses concern, May 18.
China ‘deeply concerned’ over annexation, May 21 and on June 1 “The People’s Republic of China has rejected Israel’s planned annexation of large swathes of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, Al Watan.”
Saudi Arabia again indicates opposition to annexation on May 21.
19 US Senators wrote a May 21 letter opposing it. “A deep commitment to Israel’s security and a shared set of democratic values are foundational elements of the close relationship between our countries. We are therefore concerned that unilateral annexation puts both Israel’s security and democracy at risk. Annexation would betray our shared democratic values by denying Palestinians’ right to self-determination in a viable, sovereign, independent and contiguous state. It could bring an end to Palestinian security cooperation with Israel, directly threatening the security of the Israeli people, and endanger Israel’s crucial peace agreement with Jordan,” the senators wrote.
Turkey says it won’t allow annexation; “We are witnessing a new plan of occupation and annexation by Israel that threatens Palestinian sovereignty and is contrary to international law,” Erdogan said in a video address late Sunday for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. “We won’t allow the transfer of Palestinian land to anyone,” May 26.
May 30, 2020: Palestinian Authority’s Abbas cuts ties to Israel over annexation.
Norway: Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide says unilateral annexation of strategic parts of the West Bank would ‘undermine the potential for a two-state solution,” June 1.
Jordan, again: Our message must be clear. Israel’s annexation decision will not be unanswered. If the annexation decision is applied, a violent conflict will start and the two-state solution option will be impossible. Comprehensive peace opportunities will be destroyed,– Jordan’s Ayman Safadi (June 3).
Australian Jewish youth movements: ” a statement, Netzer, Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim Dror say annexation ‘would deal a major blow to Israel’s democracy, Palestinian rights…”
“Dozens of former Canadian diplomats and ministers call for Canadian premier in a letter, to defend country’s reputation and come out against Israel’s plans to annex strategic parts of the West Bank.” Trudeau called upon to do more; As former Canadian diplomats, we invite you to defend Canada’s reputation in the international community by taking a public and unambiguous stand,” a letter, signed by at least 55 former officials, said. Read more: Former Canadian officials want Trudeau to be tougher on Israel, June 4.
Russia’s Sergey Lavrov and Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, the foreign ministers of Russia and Egypt, respectively, warned Israel against unilaterally annexing parts of the West Bank, according to statements issued after a Wednesday phone call; “The ministers noted annexing sections of Palestinian land on the West Bank of the Jordan River will threaten the prospects for the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli problem and could provoke a new and dangerous round of violence in the region,” Lavrov’s office said in a statement. June 4.
“40 high profile British Jewish philanthropists, communal leaders & public figures write to Mark Regev stating annexation is ‘not only lacks merit, but would pose an existential threat to the traditions of Zionism in Britain, and to Israel as we know it…it would have grave consequences for the Palestinian people most obviously. Israel’s international standing would also suffer and it is incompatible with the notion of Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state. Numerous former Israeli military and security officials have unequivocally stated that they regard it as a reckless move that would have adverse consequences for Israel’s security and its future as a Jewish democracy. We have no reason to doubt their assessment… A policy of annexation would call that into question, polarising Jewish communities and increasing the divisive toxicity of debate within them, but also alienating large numbers of Diaspora Jews from engaging with Israel at all. Under these circumstances, the commitment to Israel that has been such a vital glue in sustaining and uniting Jewish communities, as well an asset for Israel, will decline,” June 5.
Vatican cautious on annexation.
Ynet; Palestinians in Jordan valley don’t care
Ynet; Amos Yadlin worries about consequences: “If the annexation of the West Bank does indeed come to pass, it will surely cost us economically, internationally, and morally – and even if there were no price to pay for this measure, it is blatantly anti-Zionist,” Netanyahu’s bad timing, Netanyahu meets settlers, Kushner urges go slow and IDF prepares for violence.
June 6: German FM to make urgent visit due to annexation.
June 6: Thousands of Israelis rally in Rabin square against annexation.