Norway has joined a chorus of calls on Israel not to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory, saying the planned move violates international law and undermines the prospect for the two-state solution to the decades-long Middle East conflict.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide made the remarks on Tuesday after a virtual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), a 15-member body whose primary function is to coordinate the delivery of international aid to Palestinians.
She said that the Tel Aviv regime’s scheme to annex West Bank areas “is incompatible with the goal of achieving a viable two-state solution,” and that if implemented it would endanger regional peace and security.
“Any unilateral step would be detrimental to the (peace) process, and annexation would be in direct violation and contravention of international law,” she added.
Israel’s new coalition, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah, plans to impose its “sovereignty” over West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley — some 30 percent of the West Bank — as of July 1.
US President Donald Trump gave Tel Aviv the green light for the land grab in his self-proclaimed “deal of the century,” which was unveiled in January with the aim of legitimizing Israel’s occupation and re-drawing the Middle East map.
The illegal annexation bid has sparked a wave of condemnations from different Palestinian factions as well as the UN, Europe and Arab states.
Elsewhere in her comments, Soereide said she had spoken with her Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, to urge Tel Aviv to resume direct talks with Palestinian officials and avoid unilateral moves.
“It would undermine the potential for a two-state solution,” she added, referring to the annexation plan.
The top Norwegian diplomat further warned of “uncertain ramifications” of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent move to sever security ties with Israel and the US over the land theft initiative.
“It is high time that credible steps are taken towards resuming negotiations to resolve outstanding issues such as borders, security, Jerusalem [al-Quds] and refugees,” she said.
The AHLC meeting, chaired by Norway, urged donors to fulfill their financial commitments to the Palestinian Authority and the UN’s Palestinian aid agency to help fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, “Our message from this meeting is clear and simple. At this critical juncture, for peace in the Middle East, both parties must avoid unilateral steps and resume dialogue. It is urgent that Israel refrains from steps that would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory.”
Additionally, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told the meeting that the international community must block any West Bank annexation and prevent such “unprecedented threat to peace.”
“The message should be clear. Annexation will not go unanswered. For if it does there will only be fiercer conflict. Annexation will make the two-state solution an impossibility,” he said “We unequivocally warn against the grave consequence of annexation for the quest for regional peace and for Jordanian-Israeli relations.”