In Hebrew op-ed, UK’s Johnson implores Israel to drop annexation bid

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces his self-imposed date of July 1 for when he can decide whether to unilaterally annex portions of the West Bank, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson published a front-page op-ed in a major Hebrew newspaper urging Israel not to follow through.

“I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead. If it does, the UK will not recognize any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed to between both parties,” Johnson wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth. “As a lifelong friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel’s borders and will be contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests.”

Johnson noted that moving forward without negotiations could also jeopardize Israel’s relations that have developed over the years with states in the Arab and Muslim world.

“Annexation would represent a violation of international law. It would also be a gift to those who want to perpetuate the old stories about Israel,” Johnson said.

Last month, Yedioth Ahronoth also published an op-ed by the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States who also warned of possible repercussions from Gulf states.

As part of Netanyahu’s coalition agreement, the Israeli government agreed to allow the prime minister to implement President Donald Trump’s peace plan on July 1, giving Israel 30 percent of the West Bank and the rest to the Palestinians.

Watch part one of my video series on Annexation

But earlier this week, Netanyahu hinted that he would probably not make any move on July 1 (yesterday).

Nevertheless, several governments have joined the UK and UAE in pleading with Israel to reconsider. The Dutch parliament passed a resolution urging the government to consider possible sanctions against Israel and calling annexation a “gross violation of international law. Last week, the Belgian parliament passed an anti-annexation resolution calling for European-wide punitive measures against Israel. The German Bundestag is expected to discuss a resolution condemning annexation plan as well.

Note: The area that Israel is seeking to annex does not belong to any country. It has been unowned territory since the Turks left at the end of World War 1. The Brits planned to turn it into a Jewish homeland, a state in both the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo Conference.

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