British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Israel on Wednesday it should drop plans to extend Israeli law over parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley, cautioning that London would not recognise any changes to existing boundaries.
“Annexation would represent a violation of international law,” Johnson said in an opinion piece for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s top-selling daily. “It would also be a gift to those who want to perpetuate the old stories about Israel.”
“I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead,” he said. “If it does, the UK will not recognize any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties.”
Supporters of the Israeli government’s plans say safeguarding Jewish settlements in the West Bank is essential to the security of the center of the country which they straddle and applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley is key if Israel hopes to have a minimally defensible eastern border.
The Trump administration’s so-called “vision for peace” sees Israel annexing 30 percent of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. It also delineates a demilitarized Palestinian state established on most of the West Bank with parts of eastern Jerusalem that are outside the Israeli security fence as its capital, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported.
While controversial in international diplomatic circles, on the ground there is support amongst those who seek to be free of the corrupt Palestinian Authority.
Palestinians told an undercover Israeli journalist that they prefer life under Israeli sovereignty to life under the corrupt Palestinian Authority, as Israel debates whether to extend Israeli law to a significant portion of Judea and Samaria. https://t.co/kLD7YasP1t
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 23, 2020
If Israel does proceed, the Palestinian leadership warned it would unilaterally declare a state based on the pre-1967 lines. Jordan has warned of a “massive conflict” ahead, raising concerns the Hashemite Kingdom may even cancel its peace treaty with the Jewish state.
Several European states have also warned both Israel and the U.S. against the move, and now Boris Johnson has joined them.
“Annexation would put in jeopardy the progress that Israel has made in improving relationships with the Arab and Muslim world,” Johnson said, calling for a “solution that allows justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Johnson said he welcomed Trump’s commitment find a way forward but added: “It is with sadness that I have followed the proposals to annex Palestinian territory.”
He said he feared “these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel’s borders and will be contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests.”