UN chief calls on Israel to give up West Bank annexation plan

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel to drop plans to annex parts of the West Bank, news wires reported. The move would be a “most serious violation of international law,”including the Charter of the United Nations,” Guterres said in a report, issued ahead of the Security Council’s meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict  on Wednesday. Several ministers are set to take part at the request of the Arab League.

In the document, Guterres says an Israeli annexation would be “devastating” for hopes of fresh negotiations and an eventual two-state solution.

The government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said it could begin the annexation process from 1 July. Plans are to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.

The plan, endorsed by Washington, would see the creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory, and without Palestinians’ core demand of a capital in East Jerusalem. The plan has been rejected in its entirety by the Palestinians.

Diplomats who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said a vast majority of UN members would oppose the Israeli plans on Wednesday. Diplomats, however, seemed to rule out the idea that Israel could face sanctions over the move, as were imposed by certain countries after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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