Boris Johnson: Israel’s planned annexation breaches international law
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Boris Johnson: Israel’s planned annexation breaches international law

British leader says UK has ‘strongly objected,’ to plan but does not answer when asked if he would impose sanctions on Israel if annexation goes ahead

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, welcomes Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside Downing Street in London, September 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, welcomes Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside Downing Street in London, September 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank would “amount to a breach of international law.”

Asked in the House of Commons about possible sanctions on Israel if it goes ahead with the move, Johnson said: “I believe that what is proposed by Israel would amount to a breach of international law. We have strongly objected. We believe profoundly in a two-state solution and we will continue to make that case.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex settlements and the Jordan Valley, a move that the Palestinians and much of the international community say could scuttle any hopes of a viable Palestinian state.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day war and has built dozens of settlements that are home to over 400,000 Israelis in the decades since. The Palestinians seek the territory as the heartland of a future independent state. Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal under international law.

Under a coalition deal between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz signed last month, the government can pursue annexation of all the settlements and the Jordan Valley — the 30% of the West Bank allocated to Israel under the Trump administration peace plan — from July 1. The Trump administration has indicated it will not oppose Netanyahu’s declared plans to do so, providing Israel accepts its “Peace to Prosperity” plan, which conditionally provides for a Palestinian state on the remaining 70% of the territory.

The Palestinians have rejected the US plan, and earlier this month said they had submitted a counter-proposal for a demilitarized Palestinian state to the Middle East peacemaking Quartet — the US, EU, UN and Russia.

Also on Tuesday, Jordan’s king told US lawmakers that the Israeli annexation plans are “unacceptable” and would undermine regional stability.

King Abdullah II spoke with US senators and emphasized the kingdom’s commitment to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

“Any unilateral Israeli measure to annex lands in the West Bank is unacceptable and undermines the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the region,” the royal court said in a statement.

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