Macron calls on Netanyahu to give up annexation plans

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron, Jerusalem 22 January, 2020.

French President Emmanuel Macron is urging Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu not to annex Palestinian territory in the West Bank, saying  that it would violate international law and threaten long-term peace efforts, news wires reported.

After the two leaders spoke by phone on Thursday, Macron’s office said in a statement on Friday that he told Netanyahu “to abstain from taking any measure to annex Palestinian territories.” Macron also reiterated France’s commitment to Israel’s security and determination to work to calm tensions in the region.

Tensions have been high in the West Bank in recent weeks as Israel has vowed to proceed with plans to annex up to 30% of the occupied territory, in line in President Donald Trump’s Middle East initiative. Netanyahu has appeared determined to carry out the plans, which have been welcomed by Israel’s religious and nationalist right wing but condemned by the Palestinians and the international community.

The UN Secretary General, European Union and leading Arab countries have all said that any Israeli annexation would violate international law and greatly undermine the prospects for Palestinian independence. The international community has invested billions of dollars in promoting a two-state solution since the interim Oslo peace accords of the 1990s.

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