Turkish diplomat criticizes West Bank annexation in Jordan

Turkey's ambassador to Jordan is the latest Middle Eastern and international politician to criticize Israel's plans to annex parts of the Palestinian territory.

al-monitor Palestinian demonstrators wave national flags during a protest against the expansion of existing Jewish settlements, in the town of Biddya, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on July 6, 2020. Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images.

Jul 8, 2020

Turkey’s ambassador to Jordan criticized Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank today.

Ismail Aramaz spoke to the Jordanian Parliament in Amman on Wednesday. During the meeting, he said that Turkey agrees with Jordan and opposes any annexation of Palestinian territory by Israel, according to the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency.

Israel plans to annex Jewish settlements and the entire Jordan Valley in the Palestinian territory, but political disagreements have led to delays. The Israeli government originally intended to start the process on July 1, but has yet to do so.

Jordan has been one of the most critical countries of annexation and is sure to be pleased with the Turkish envoy’s comments. Jordan is one of only two Arab states to have full diplomatic relations with Israel. However, Jordan’s population, including Queen Rania herself, is largely descended from Palestinians who fled or were forced out of present-day Israel during the first Arab-Israeli war in 1947-48. Many Jordanians oppose the peace treaty with Israel as well as Jordan’s decision to import gas from an Israeli company.

Many in Amman were relieved when Israel did not make any moves toward annexation on July 1. In May, Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned of a “massive conflict” if Israel were to carry out its plans. And in June, Abdullah reportedly refused a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out of opposition to the plan.

Turkey-Israel relations have been similarly fraught in recent years as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to improve Turkey’s standing in the Muslim world.

The Turkish ambassador’s comments follow mounting criticism of Israeli annexation by other countries and Palestine. Fatah, the dominant Palestinian party in the West Bank, and the armed group Hamas, which controls the other Palestinian territory the Gaza Strip, made a rare display of unity this month in opposition to annexation. The rival Palestinian factions otherwise do not work together.

This week, Germany, France and Egypt joined Jordan in a joint statement urging Israel to not annex. Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a vocal supporter of Israel, wrote against annexation in an Israeli newspaper article. The United Arab Emirates, which has grown closer to Israel in recent years due to shared concerns about Iran, has also vocally criticized annexation.

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