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Israel annexation plan: Jordan, Egypt, France and Germany warn of 'consequences'

In a joint statement, foreign ministers warn Israel that they will not recognise any unilateral changes to 1967 borders
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (L) meets with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Amman in June.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (L) meets with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Amman in June (AFP/File photo)

The foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, France and Germany urged Israel on Tuesday to abandon plans for annexing settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning such action could have "consequences" for relations.

"We concur that any annexation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and imperil the foundations of the peace process," the ministers said in a joint statement, following a video conference.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had initially set 1 July as the date when it could begin plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.

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Netanyahu's office made no announcement on 1 July as expected, but said talks were continuing with US officials and Israeli security chiefs.

"We would not recognise any changes to the 1967 borders that are not agreed by both parties in the conflict," the ministers warned in the statement.

"We also concur that such a step would have serious consequences for the security and stability of the region, and would constitute a major obstacle to efforts aimed at achieving a comprehensive and just peace," they said. "It could also have consequences for the relationship with Israel."

Israel's annexation plan was given the greenlight in January in US President Donald Trump's so-called 'deal of the century,' despite global criticism over the illegal move.

The plan also envisages the creation of a Palestinian state with no control over its borders or airspace. The Palestinians have rejected the proposal and voiced outrage at Israel's proposed annexation.

'Massive conflict'

Since the 1967 Middle East war, Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights in moves never recognised by the international community, and has illegally occupied the West Bank and besieged the Gaza Strip.

After occupying the West Bank, Israel began establishing a network of settlements during the following decade. Construction has continued to this day.

Despite being viewed as illegal under international law, the settler population has jumped by 50 percent during the past decade.

Jordan, one of only two Arab nations that has diplomatic ties with Israel, has warned that annexation could trigger a "massive conflict" and has not ruled out reviewing its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.  

In recent weeks, the European Union has mounted a diplomatic campaign against annexation, highlighted by a visit to occupied Jerusalem by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to raise a concern about the prospective plans.

Belgium and the Netherlands have both passed measures to issue sanctions against Israel if it continues with annexation.

But the entire bloc cannot threaten Israel with formal sanctions without unanimous support among members.