Foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan urged Israel to abandon plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning that such action could have “consequences” for relationships.
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set July 1 as the date by which it could begin annexing Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, as well as in the strategic Jordan Valley.
The move was approved by a plan for the Middle East released by U.S. President Donald Trump in January.
Netanyahu’s office made no announcement on July 1, but said talks were continuing with US officials and Israeli security chiefs.
“We agree that any annexation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and would jeopardize the foundations of the peace process,” the ministers said in a statement after a joint videoconference on Tuesday.
“We would not recognize any change to the 1967 borders that was not accepted by both parties to the conflict.
“We also agree that such a measure would have serious consequences for the security and stability of the region and would constitute a major obstacle to efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just peace.
“It could also have consequences for relations with Israel,” the statement added, stressing their commitment to a two-state solution based on international law.
In recent weeks, the EU has launched a diplomatic campaign against annexation, highlighted by a visit to Jerusalem by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to express concern over the plans.
But the bloc cannot threaten Israel with official sanctions without the unanimous support of the members.
After occupying the West Bank during the 1967 Six Day War, Israel began to establish a network of settlements over the next decade. Construction has continued to this day.
Although considered illegal under international law, the settler population has jumped 50% in the past decade.