Jordan, Germany, France, Egypt Say Won’t Recognize Unilateral Changes to 1967 Borders

In joint statement, foreign ministers warn West Bank annexation could impact their relations with Israel

Noa Landau
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Hamas supporters pass a mural against Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank at the main road of Rafah refugee camp, Gaza Strip, July 3, 2020.
Hamas supporters pass a mural against Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank at the main road of Rafah refugee camp, Gaza Strip, July 3, 2020. Credit: Adel Hana / AP
Noa Landau

Egypt, Germany, France and Jordan issued a joint statement Tuesday saying that they categorically reject Israel’s plan to annex part of the West Bank, and that such a move would “violate international law and could also have an impact on relations with Israel.”

After a joint video conference, the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Germany, France and Jordan issued a statement saying: “We exchanged views on the current status of the Middle East peace process and its regional impact. We unanimously believe that any annexation of the Palestinian Territories occupied in 1967 would violate international law and endanger the foundations of the peace process. We would not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders that were not agreed by both parties to the conflict.

Sovereignty Setback: Who Burst Bibi's Annexation Bubble?Credit: Haaretz

“We also agree that such a move would have serious implications for the security and stability of the region and would be a major obstacle to efforts to achieve a full and just peace. It could also have an impact on relations with Israel. We emphasize our strong commitment to a negotiated two-state solution based on international law and relevant UN resolutions. We discussed how a constructive fresh start can be made between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and we offer our support in opening a path to negotiations,” the statement added.

After missing his July 1 target date to start the annexation process, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he would continue to discuss the matter with the Trump administration.

In June, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned Netanyahu that other nations would cast sanctions on Israel, and possibly officially recognize a Palestinian state, if Israel follows through on its intention to annex part of the West Bank.

In a meeting with Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Maas added that Germany is not enthusiastic about imposing retribution measures on Israel, but that other nations are pressuring the European Union to move in that direction.

In all of his meetings with Israeli officials during his visit, Maas stressed that unilateral annexation violates international law and UN decisions, and it would be difficult for Germany to support such a move. His remarks come after the Belgian Parliament began to appeal to the government in recent weeks aiming to recognizing a Palestinian state in response to Israeli annexation. Other countries in Europe and Latin America are considering a similar move.

Maas met one-on-one with Netanyahu and discussed President Donald Trump's Middle East plan, in which Netanyahu reaffirmed "Israel's vital interests in any future arrangement, such as the need for full security control west of Jordan." The prime minister added that "every realistic plan must recognize the reality of Israeli settlements on the ground, and not foster the illusion of displacing people from their homes."

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