Macron asks Israeli PM Netanyahu to drop West Bank annexation plans

File photo of French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right), during their meeting in Jerusalem on January 22, 2020. (Photo: AP)

Emmanuel Macron asked Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refrain from annexing Palestinian territory in the West Bank and elsewhere during a telephone call between the two leaders, the French president’s office said on Friday.

Macron “emphasized that such a move would contravene international law and jeopardise the possibility of a two-state solution as the basis of a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” his office said in a statement after the call on Thursday.

It was the latest move by European leaders pressing Netanyahu to drop plans to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley.

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The controversial move was endorsed in a Middle East plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January.

Israel’s government had set July 1 as the date when it could begin taking over the Palestinian areas, where the population of Israeli settlers has grown since the 1967 Six-Day War.

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The foreign ministries of France and Germany, along with those of Egypt and Jordan -- the only Arab states to have peace deals with Israel -- warned this week that any annexation could have “consequences” for relations.

But Macron told Netanyahu that France remained committed to Israel’s security and “expressed his attachment to the friendship and confidence that links France and Israel”, his office said.

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Last Update: Friday, 10 July 2020 KSA 17:14 - GMT 14:14
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