The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set the 1st of July as the start date for the annexation of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory, as well as in the Jordan Valley.
The move was prompted by the US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. Trump presented his Middle East plan in January and envisioned establishing Israel’s sovereignty over settlements and the Jordan Valley, and recognizing a Palestinian state on bits and pieces of whatever remains.
However, Netanyahu’s office released nothing on the 1st of July except to continue talks with US officials and Israeli security officials.
Jordan’s leading critics
There is a sense of reserved relief in Jordan, a country whose leader, King Abdullah II, is on the frontline of the annexation plan critics. Jordan dismisses any form of annexation; however, it explicitly rejects the plan to annex most of the Jordan Valley on the Palestinian side. That would result in cutting any geographical connection between Jordan and Palestine.
On the 1st of July, King Abdullah II organized a meeting with military retirees on the subject of Israel’s annexation. He again emphasized that “Jordan’s position on the annexation remains unwavering,” and that the kingdom will not accept any unilateral moves made by Israel.
During Jordanian diplomatic campaign, King Abdullah II held a conference call with the US Congress leaders, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Appropriations Subcommittees in the House of Representatives and the Senate. He underscored the devastating consequences Israel annexation plan could have for the stability of the region as well as for Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel.
King Abdullah pointed out on several occasions that the kingdom coordinates position with several Arab and European countries. In that regard, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany jointly said that they strongly oppose Israel’s plan to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank. “We agree that any annexation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and jeopardize the foundations of the peace process. We will not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders not agreed upon by the parties to the conflict,” said Egyptian Minister Sameh Shukri. al-Safadi from Jordan, Jean-Yves le Drian from France and Heiko Maas from Germany after a video discussion.
The EU has announced that they will impose sanctions if the annexation takes place which is seen as the attainment of Jordan’s extensive diplomatic campaign.
Sources: BBC, Al-Monitor, Aljazeera, DW, Bloomberg
Photo: Wikimedia Commons