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UN envoy warns of Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory

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UN envoy warns of Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory 1

United Nations, May 21 (IANS) UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov warned of grave consequences of Israel’s planned annexation of occupied Palestinian territory.

“The continuing threat of annexation by Israel of parts of the West Bank would constitute a most serious violation of international law, deal a devastating blow to the two-state solution, close the door to a renewal of negotiations, and threaten efforts to advance regional peace and our broader efforts to maintain international peace and security,” Mladenov told the Security Council on Wdnesday.

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Recent polls show that the Israeli public was also divided on the issue, reports Xinhua news agency.

Countries in the region and many in the international community have clearly stated their positions regarding annexation, the envoy said in a briefing.

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The Palestinian leadership announced on Tuesday that it sees itself absolved “as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones”.

It also called on Israel to assume its obligations as the occupying power.

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“Tomorrow (Thursday) I will be meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister in order to better understand the practical side of the decision by the leadership and its implications on the ground…,” Mladenov said.

Mladenov asked the other parties of Middle East Quartet — the European Union, Russia, the US — to work with the UN and quickly come forward with a proposal that will enable it to take up its mediation role and work jointly with countries in the region to advance the prospect of peace.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an agreement with Benny Gantz, the leader of Blue and White Party, to form the unity government which was sworn in earlier this week.

They both agreed to impose Israeli sovereignty on the territories, which they called as “part of the historic lands of Israel” as of July 1.

On May 7, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that American President Donald Trump’s administration supports Israel’s application of sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians – who claim all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem – have rejected the idea.

Israel has occupied the territories since the 1967 Middle East war, said the BBC reported.

More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

–IANS

ksk/

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