France Asks Israel Not to Annex the West Bank

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to members of the Citizens’ Convention on Climate on June 29, 2020. (Christian Hartmann/Pool via AP)

PARIS (AFP) — French President Emmanuel Macron asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refrain from annexing Palestinian territory in the West Bank and elsewhere during a telephone call, Macron’s office said on Friday.

Macron “emphasized that such a move would contravene international law and jeopardize the possibility of a two-state solution as the basis of a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” his office said in a statement after the call Thursday.

It was the latest move by European leaders pressing Netanyahu to drop plans to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley.

The controversial move was endorsed in a Middle East plan unveiled by President Donald Trump in January.

Israel’s government had set July 1 as the date when it could begin taking over the Palestinian areas, where the population of Israeli settlers has grown since the 1967 Six-Day War.

The foreign ministries of France and Germany, along with those of Egypt and Jordan — the only Arab states to have peace deals with Israel — warned this week that any annexation would have “consequences” for relations.

But Macron told Netanyahu that France remained committed to Israel’s security and “expressed his attachment to the friendship and confidence that links France and Israel,” his office said.

© Agence France-Presse

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