Middle East Monitor / August 5, 2020
Luxembourg warned Israel that if it fulfils its plan to annex parts of the West Bank, other European Union countries would recognize Palestine as an independent state, German daily die Welt reported Wednesday, Anadolu reports.
“So far, nine out of 27 EU countries have recognized Palestine as a separate state. Most of these EU countries, like Hungary or Poland, took this step while belonging to communist systems before 1989,” said Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s foreign minister.
“But I think that other EU countries, including large states, will agree to recognize Palestine’s own statehood, if Israel soon annexes parts of the West Bank. There are internal considerations in this direction,” he added.
Asselborn urged the EU to take a unified stance on Israel’s West Bank annexation plan.
He stressed “diplomatic pressure” is needed to block the plan.
According to a coalition agreement by the new Israeli government, the annexation could have started on July 1. So far nothing has happened.
EU diplomats believe the COVID-19 crisis, disagreement within Israel’s new coalition government, and some reluctance in Washington account for the delay.
The situation could however change again at any time, EU officials in Brussels were quoted saying.
From the point of view of the EU and the United Nations, the annexation would be “a serious violation of international law,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell reportedly made clear the annexation could not remain “unchallenged.”
Israel’s new government was expected to present its strategy last month for implementing the so-called “Middle East peace plan” drawn up by the Trump administration. The plan gives Israel a free hand to annex large parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, which the Jewish state occupied in 1967.
Palestinians are vehemently opposed to the Israeli plan, fearing it will spark further insecurity and a new wave of violence throughout the Middle East.