Russia, Egypt Say Israeli Annexation of West Bank Will Spark Regional Violence

The comments come amid broad criticism of Israel's plan to begin annexing part of West Bank and Jordan Valley in July

Noa Landau
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu checks the area map during visit to Ariel settlement in the West Bank, February 24, 2020
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu checks the area map during visit to Ariel settlement in the West Bank, February 24, 2020Credit: Sebastian Scheiner/ AP
Noa Landau

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Thursday that Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank will threaten the prospects for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict problem and could provoke a new and dangerous round of violence in the region, according to the Russian Foreign Minister's office.

"Discussing settlement issues in the Middle East, the ministers supported the invigoration of the concerted efforts of the international community, including the participants of the Quartet of international mediators and Arab League members, with a view to resuming direct Palestinian-Israeli talks under the UN aegis as soon as possible," the statement said. 

The comments come amid vast criticism of Israeli's plan to annex parts of the West Bank. This week alone, officials in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have spoken publicly against the move.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaks during a news conference in Moscow, January 17, 2020
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaks during a news conference in Moscow, January 17, 2020Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko/ AP

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Tuesday that the international community must block any Israeli moves toward West Bank annexation, calling it an "unprecedented threat to peace."

"The message should be clear: Annexation will not go unanswered. For if it does, there will only be fiercer conflict. Annexation will make the two-state solution an impossibility, it will make institutionalized apartheid an inevitability; it will diminish all chances for a lasting and comprehensive regional peace," Safadi said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Cairo, July 13, 2015
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Cairo, July 13, 2015Credit: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/ Reuters

Meanwhile, a senior UAE official said on Monday that any unilateral move by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank would be a serious setback for the Middle East peace process.

"Continued Israeli talk of annexing Palestinian lands must stop," Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a Twitter post.

The EU joined calls against Israel's annexation plan in May. At a session on the Middle East, EU representatives expressed their concern over Israel's intentions regarding annexation, saying it would be a violation of international law.

The United Nations has also condemned the plan. UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov commented on Israel's plans for West Bank land annexation earlier in May, 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.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said cabinet discussions would begin on July 1 on his plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to territory Palestinians want for their own state.

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