Boris Johnson urges Israel to abandon West Bank annexation plans

Boris Johnson urges Israel not to go ahead with West Bank annexation

Johnson warns Israel against plans to annex part of West Bank

Media captionIsrael annexation: What is the West Bank? Another possibility being weighed is to redefine some Area C lands, where Israel maintains full control, as Area B, where Palestinians have civil control.

USA officials said they would like the plan to have the support of Israel's two main parties, Netanyahu's Likud and Gantz's Blue and White.

Trump's 180-page "deal of the century", officially known as the "Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future for Israel and the Palestinian People" bill - published in January - put forward proposals that were widely seen as benefiting Israelis with Palestinian factions denouncing it as dead on arrival.

Palestinians rivals Fatah and Hamas pledged a united campaign against Israel's prospective plans to annex territory in the occupied West Bank, in a rare joint press conference on Thursday.

"Annexation would represent a violation of worldwide law", Johnson wrote, adding that it would also jeopardise "the progress that Israel has made in improving relationships with the Arab and Muslim world".

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The document said, "Discussions on unilateral sanctions or threats of sanctions have no constructive effect" on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to go ahead with taking over Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as well as the Jordan Valley, as early as Wednesday.

'As a life-long 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'.

In the statement, the Vatican quotes the Pope's speech from that June 2014 meeting where Francis called on Israel and Palestine to have "the courage to say yes to encounter, and not to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect to agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity".

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Under the White House plan, Israel could annex as much as 30% of the occupied territory that it captured from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War.

The Trump plan also calls for talks with the Palestinians and buy-in from Gulf Arab states that would theoretically be tasked with providing massive funds for a nascent Palestinian state's economy.

The US aside, the global community has voiced near unanimous opposition against unilateral moves by Israel.

Palestinian officials have condemned the annexation plan.

His former opponent-turned-coalition partner, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, also does not appear to be fully on board. US officials have said they don't want to move forward without both leaders in agreement.

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He added: 'It would also be a gift to those who want to perpetuate the old stories about Israel'.

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