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EU lawmakers call for action against ‘de-facto’ Israeli annexation of West Bank

March 2, 2021 at 9:21 am

Ongoing construction work seen at the illegal Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on June 25, 2020 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

Some 442 European lawmakers have signed a letter calling on European governments and leaders, as well as US President Joe Biden, to take action against “de facto” Israeli annexation of the occupied West Bank.

The letter, which includes the signatures of the lawmakers who represent 22 European countries, was sent on Sunday and stated that “the previous US administration left the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict farther away from peace than ever.”

Former US President Donald Trump broke with much of the international consensus concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided capital” and moving the US embassy to the occupied Palestinian city.

The Trump administration also announced it no longer viewed Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank as illegal.

In the letter, which was also signed by four prominent Israeli figures, the lawmakers stated: “The recent regional normalisation agreements with Israel led to the suspension of plans to formally annex West Bank territory.”

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“However, developments on the ground clearly point to a reality of rapidly progressing de facto annexation, especially through accelerated settlement expansion and demolitions of Palestinian structures.”

They also stated that settlement expansion policies that have accelerated on the ground are eliminating the possibility of a two-state solution.

“The recently approved construction of the Givat Hamatos settlement, previously referred to as Europe’s red line, is of particularly serious concern.”

Regarding the situation in Gaza, the letter said: “The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate under the Israeli blockade, which is compounded by intra-Palestinian divisions. Gaza remains at risk of violent escalation at any moment.”

To help solve these issues, the letter stated: “Europe must work with the Biden administration, countries in the region and the parties on the ground to prevent unilateral action undermining the possibility of peace, advance the rights and security of all people under Israel’s effective control.”