Foreign ministers from 11 European countries have requested a list from the EU of the possible consequences of Israel’s plan to annex the occupied West Bank.
The ministers also want a list of possible options for the EU in the event that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushes ahead with the annexation. This list was apparently requested from EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell on 15 May, but is still awaited.According to the Guardian, the ministers wrote to Borrell and asked about the possible “legal consequences” of annexation as well as any ramifications for agreements between Israel and the bloc. These cover areas such as trade, travel, security cooperation, and research and development.
“The possible annexation by Israel of parts of the occupied Palestinian territory remains a matter of grave concern for the EU and its member states,” wrote the ministers. “Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied Palestinian territory would be a breach of international law… [It is important] to have clarity on the legal and political implications of annexation.”
Israel was due to begin annexing settlements in the occupied West Bank earlier this month, but uncertainty now surrounds Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position in light of widespread international rejection of the plan along with differences with the US administration on its application.
The letter expressing “grave concern” over annexation plans was signed by foreign ministers from Ireland, Italy, Belgium, France, Portugal, Malta, Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Finland. “We understand that this is a sensitive issue and timing is important, but time is also short,” they said. “We are concerned that the window to deter annexation is fast closing.”