PAX calls on European foreign ministers to agree on concrete measures to show that Israeli annexation of parts of the Palestinian Occupied Territories in the West Bank will have consequences.
The European Union needs to make it clear to the Israeli government that the EU will take action if Israel carries out its plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
EU has expressed concern
European foreign ministers are set to discuss the impending Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank. Several EU Member States, including France, as well as European High Representative Josep Borrell, have indicated that such annexation will have consequences.
The new Israeli coalition agreement states that the Israeli government can annex parts of occupied Palestinian territory after 1 July 2020. This would be a clear violation of international law and would make it impossible for Palestinian citizens to live in dignity.
The acquisition of territory by force is strictly prohibited by international law. The International Court of Justice has repeatedly confirmed this. This is also clearly stated in Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter. The possible annexation of the West Bank is a serious violation of the Palestinians’ self-determination. Other countries have an obligation not to provide help or assistance to such an illegal situation.
The European Union must make clear to Israel that the annexation of parts of the West Bank will have concrete consequences. A recent precedent are the measures taken against Russia in response to the annexation of Crimea. In the case of Israel, concrete measures could include suspension and/or freezing of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, trade restrictions, exclusion from participation in European programs, such as Horizon Europe, and other measures such as travel restrictions and asset freezes.
EU has a duty
Annexation is a serious violation of international law to be condemned with more than just words. As Israel’s main trading partner and guardian of peace and justice, the EU has both the ability and the duty to exert influence to stop annexation. The EU must also ensure that the further expansion of the specially designated E1 area near Jerusalem is not brought up for discussion as an alternative to the annexation of parts of the West Bank. PAX therefore calls on European foreign ministers to agree concrete measures and to make it clear to the Israeli government that annexation of parts of the West Bank will not be without serious consequences.