Germany, France, Egypt and Jordan released a joint statement today criticizing Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank.
In the statement, the countries said annexing the Palestinian territory that Israel has controlled since 1967 would undermine peace.
“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 countries said in the statement released by the German Foreign Office.
Israel planned to start annexing parts of the West Bank on July 1, but a series of political roadblocks in the Israeli government and with the United States led to the date coming and going without any moves. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the territory, but there is some disagreement in the unity government he heads. Palestinians and much of the international community oppose the move, while the United States conditionally supports it.
Israel is under increasing pressure from regional and international actors as annexation appears to falter. Jordan, which has a peace treaty with Israel, is adamantly against annexation and was relieved nothing happened on July 1. Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is friendly to Israel, wrote an op-ed in an Israeli newspaper urging against annexation. Politicians in the United Arab Emirates, who have warmed up to Israel over the conflict with Iran, have also come out against the move.
The statement is significant because it gives Jordan backing for its position. Jordan controlled the West Bank before Israel, and its population is largely descended from Palestinians who left during the first Arab-Israeli war from 1947-48.
The letter also indicates opposition from Egypt, which is an important neighbor for Israel. The Egyptian government shares Israel’s concerns over the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and is the only other Arab country besides Jordan to have full diplomatic relations with Israel.
The letter did not specify any actions that would be taken should Israel move forward with annexation, but it did say “it could also have consequences for the relationship with Israel.” It also called on a two-state solution to the conflict.