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EuropeEuropean parliamentarians warn against de facto West Bank annexation

European parliamentarians warn against de facto West Bank annexation

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A group of 442 parliamentarians from 22 European countries have urged the European Union to take action to prevent de facto Israeli annexation of the West Bank.“The recent regional normalization agreements with Israel have led to the suspension of plans to formally annex West Bank territory,” the European parliamentarians said in a letter to EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell and the EU’s 27 foreign ministers.

“However, developments on the ground clearly point to a reality of rapidly progressing de facto annexation, especially through accelerated settlement expansion and demolition of Palestinian structures.”The parliamentarians asked the EU to take advantage of the Biden administration’s disapproval of settlement activity, and its desire to reengage with Palestinians, by working with the US to “renew efforts” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Europe must work with the Biden administration, countries in the region and the parties on the ground to prevent unilateral action from undermining the possibility of peace,” they wrote.

The EU’s member countries should make use of available diplomatic tools such as the 2016 UNSC Resolution 2334 that requires nations not to recognize the settlements as part of Israel, the parliamentarians said. That means “diplomatic, legal and financial support for Palestinian communities at risk of demolition and forcible transfer should be increased,” they explained.“Active European support for Palestinian reconciliation and elections across all the Palestinian territory is vital,” also for ending the isolation of Gaza,” they added.

The letter was the initiative of four Israelis; former attorney-general Michael Ben-Yair, former Labor MK Avraham Burg, former New Israel Fund president Naomi Chazan and former Meretz Party head Zahava Gal-On.

The parliamentarians who signed onto the letter were from: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The European Union has already called on Israel to halt the demolition of illegal Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank and to stop settlement activity.

Last Friday seven European countries with current and past membership in the United Nations Security Council stated their opposition to demolitions and settlement activity.

“We recall our firm opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes and humanitarian assets, which are illegal under international law…  and are an impediment to a viable two-state solution.

”The seven ambassadors who signed onto the statement were from Estonia, France, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom.

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