West Bank Annexation Will Encourage Radicalization on All Sides, Mideast UN Envoy Says

Move by Israel will also diminish the prospects for normalization of ties between Israel and Arab states, says Nickolay Mladenov

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Palestinian man carrying a sign reading "I am returning to Umm al-Zinat" (Palestinian village near Haifa depopulated in 1948) in a demonstration near Tulkarem, West Bank, May 16, 2020.
Palestinian man carrying a sign reading "I am returning to Umm al-Zinat" (Palestinian village near Haifa depopulated in 1948) in a demonstration near Tulkarem, West Bank, May 16, 2020.Credit: AFP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

The UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov addressed Israel's plans for West Bank land annexation Sunday, saying it will have difficult "legal, political and security implications" and will "diminish prospects for normalization of ties between Israel and Arab states."

"Annexation is a big threat. It is prohibited under international law, and will undermine the rules-based international order," said Mladenov in a conference organized by the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. 

"It will have legal, political and security implications that will be difficult to deal with, damage prospects for peace, and encourage radicalization on all sides. Annexation will also diminish the prospects for normalization of ties between Israel and Arab states."

The newly sworn-in Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aims to promote legislation for annexation of the West Bank starting July, according to coalition agreements.

Last week, the European Union Foreign Affairs Council discussed possible responses to annexation moves by Israel. When asked about the possibility of sanctions, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said that it is a complex issue and that "there have been several proposals on the table." Several European countries, headed by France along with Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Belgium and Luxembourg are all said to be calling for a hard line on the issue.

Jordan's King Abdullah II has issued harsh warnings against Israel's annexation plans, saying it would lead to "massive conflict" with his country. Israeli defense officials believe it could kill the peace deal between the two countries. 

The United States has supported annexation as part of its so-called Middle East Peace Plan.

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