Russia: Israel annexing West Bank would undermine prospect of Palestinian state

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova gestures during news conference in Moscow, Russia, January 17, 2020. (Reuters)

Moscow is concerned that if Israel goes ahead with proposed plans to annex parts of the West Bank, it would undermine the prospects of creating an “independent, viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said in February that his government had begun to draw up maps of land in the occupied West Bank that will be annexed in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s proposed ‘Deal of the Century,’ which gives Israel sovereignty over the Jordan Valley among other things.

Netanyahu had said the area would include all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley - territory Israel has kept under military occupation since its capture in the 1967 war but which Palestinians want in a future state.

Palestinians immediately rejected and condemned the plans.

“The only map that can be accepted as the map of Palestine is the map of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

More than 400,000 Israeli settlers now live among about 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, with a further 200,000 settlers in East Jerusalem. Palestinians and much of the world view the settlements as illegal under international law, a position Israel and the United States dispute.

- With Reuters

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 14:06 - GMT 11:06
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