Netanyahu’s plan to annex Jordan Valley met with widespread opposition

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The Jordan Valley accounts for around one-third of the West Bank, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War. (File/AFP)

        .Saudi Arabia called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in light of the issue

  • The Jordan Valley accounts for around one-third of the West Bank, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War

DUBAI: The European Union called out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his plan to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, saying it undermined the prospects of peace.

The EU condemnation follows comments from Arab leaders criticizing Netanyahu’s remarks, with Saudi Arabia leading the call, describing it as “a very dangerous escalation.”

The Kingdom and Bahrain particularly released statements criticizing the plan, as well as other international organizations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The controversial Netanyahu reaffirmed his pledge to impose Israeli sovereignty on West Bank settlements during a visit to an Israeli settlement last Sunday, saying there “will be no more displacements” and all the communities will be “part of the state of Israel.”

In a statement issued by the Royal Court, Saudi Arabia called for an emergency meeting for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the level of foreign ministers, “to discuss this issue, develop an urgent plan of action and review the attitudes towards Israel, to address this announcement and take the necessary measures.”

“Saudi Arabia condemns and categorically rejects the Israeli prime minister’s announcement that if he is re-elected next week, he will immediately annex a part of the 1967 occupied West Bank,” the statement said.

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“The Saudi Kingdom also highlights that this announcements is a very dangerous escalation against the Palestinian people and constitutes a flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, the principles of international law and state norms.

“It also considered that this announcement would undermine and throw away any efforts to achieve a fair and lasting peace because there is no peace without restoring the occupied Palestinian territories, with the Palestinian people enjoying their undiminished rights.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points at a map of the Jordan Valley as he gives a statement in Ramat Gan, near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on September 10, 2019. (AFP / Menahem Kahana)

The statement said “Israel’s attempts to impose a de-facto policy will not obliterate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”

“While condemning and rejecting this announcement, Saudi Arabia also affirms that the Arab and Islamic worlds preoccupation with many local and regional crises will not affect the Arab and Islamic countries and governments’ stance towards the Palestinian cause, and will not dismay the Arab nation -which affirmed its desire for peace through the Arab Peace Initiative- from addressing unilateral actions by Israel, ongoing attempts to change the facts of history and geography, and the violation of the legitimate Palestinian people rights.,” it said.

The United Nations had warned Netanyahu  that “any Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdictions and administration in the occupied West Bank is without any international legal effect.”

The Jordan Valley accounts for around one-third of the West Bank, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War — a move never recognized by the international community.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said Netanyahu was “not only destroying the two-state solution, he is destroying all chances of peace.”

Israeli settlements are located in what is known as Area C of the West Bank, which accounts for some 60 percent of the territory, including the vast majority of the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu said his annexation plans would not include Palestinian cities, such as the Jordan Valley’s Jericho.

Netanyahu, who used a map of the Jordan Valley to illustrate his plans, said Trump’s peace parameters “will place before us a great challenge and also a great opportunity.