UN takes lead against Israel’s annexation plan

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres redoubles his efforts against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation proposal.

al-monitor Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, Feb. 11, 2020.  Photo by REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton.

Jun 24, 2020

Israeli envoy to the United Nations Danny Danon slammed the international community today for supporting the Palestinian campaign against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation plan and against the American peace plan.

Addressing the UN Security Council, Danon said, "Some in the international community choose to reward the Palestinians’ rejectionism and ignore reality. Instead of confronting the Palestinian leadership, they have tried to appease them by buying every rotten bill of goods the Palestinians were selling. This approach of blindly accepting the Palestinian narrative and demands has not and will not lead to a lasting and sustainable end to the conflict.’’ The ambassador accused the international community of supporting a “false narrative” touted by the Palestinians.

The Security Council holds every six months a meeting dedicated to the situation in the Middle East. Today’s meeting focused entirely on Israel’s annexation plan, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opening the session. Also attending were Danon, Palestinian foreign affairs chief Riyad al-Maliki and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Foreign ministers from China, Indonesia, South Africa and Tunisia represented their countries in the discussion, as did UK Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly.

Calling upon the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plan, Guterres said, "I address you today with a deep sense of concern over the evolving situation in Israel and Palestine. We are at a watershed moment. Israel’s threat to annex parts of the occupied West Bank has alarmed Palestinians, many Israelis and the broader international community. If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-State solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations.’’

The secretary-general called upon the Quartet (the UN, the United States, the European Union and Russia) to step in and create a new framework for Israeli-Palestinian talks, without any preconditions.

Shortly before the meeting, Guterres directly addressed the Israeli government, saying, “I hope that this voice of reason that is not only mine, it is echoing across the world, will be heard by the Israeli authorities and that annexation does not take place on July 1.’’

French envoy to the UN Nicolas de Riviere, who holds the council’s presidency this month, warned, "Such a decision would further undermine the stability of a region undermined by crises and Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors.’’ After the meeting, France published a joint statement with Germany and the UK saying that any annexation move, whether big or small, will inevitably affect Europe’s close relations with Israel.

It appears clear that the UN and the European Union are employing their heaviest artillery in a last-ditch effort to curb Netanyahu’s intention of bringing his plan for a Knesset vote July 1. Even the UK minister, representing one of Israel’s closest and strongest allies, tweeted, "The UK position on annexation is clear: it would be contrary to international law and deeply damaging to peace prospects.’’

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