Preventing Israeli Annexation 'A Matter of Priority,' German, Jordanian FMs Declare

Joint statement with Palestinian prime minister follows meetings Germany's Heiko Maas held with Israeli leaders about possible ramifications of annexing parts of the West Bank, as Netanyahu has vowed to do as early as July

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan, June 10, 2020.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan, June 10, 2020.Credit: AFP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Germany, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority declared that preventing Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank is paramount, in a joint statement released Wednesday overnight following a meeting between German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

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The three met via video conference at the end of Maas' visit to Jordan. Earlier, he had visited with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Israel to discuss annexation and its possible ramifications.

"The German Foreign Minister confirmed that an annexation would be contrary to international law and that it is now a matter of priority to prevent it," the statement said, adding that the leaders "reiterated that any future negotiations to reach the final status agreement must be based on international law and the relevant UN resolutions."

They also "underlined their firm commitment to the two-state solution" and discussed bringing both Israel and the Palestinians to the table. Maas and Safadi noted that they are offering help in facilitating the negotiation process.

Wednesday's meeting with the Palestinian prime minister was held over video conference after Israel cited its coronavirus quarantine orders to prevent Maas from visiting the West Bank.

Earlier Wednesday, Maas warned Netanyahu that other nations would cast sanctions on Israel, and possibly officially recognize a Palestinian state, if Israel follows through on its stated intention to begin annexing part of the West Bank on July 1.

In a meeting with Netanyahu, Defense Minister and Deputy 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.

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