UN, Arab League urge Israel to abandon annexation plans

Most world powers vehemently oppose the annexation plan. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP, REUTERS) - The United Nations and the Arab League made a joint appeal Wednesday (June 24) for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The call was made during a UN Security Council video conference in which several government ministers participated.

It was the last international meeting before Israel goes ahead with the plans as early as July 1.

"I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

"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," he told the UN Security Council.

Mr Guterres reiterated the longstanding goal of a two-state solution with an independent, contiguous, sovereign and viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit said annexation "will destroy any prospect for peace in the future."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet is preparing to start discussions on July 1 on annexation of the West Bank, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war and that Palestinians seek for a state.

Palestinians vehemently oppose the annexation plan, as do most world powers.

Palestinian leaders have also completely rejected a peace proposal unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump, which would have seen Washington recognise Jewish settlements as part of Israel.

Senior aides to Trump began discussions on Tuesday on whether to give Netanyahu a green light for his annexation plan.

Guterres called on the Middle East Quartet of mediators - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - "to take up our mandated mediation role and find a mutually agreeable framework for the parties to re-engage, without preconditions, with us and other key states."

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