Boris Johnson accuses Israel of ‘violation of international law’ over West Bank annexation plan
Boris Johnson has criticised the West Bank annexation plans by Benjamin Netanyahu (PA)
Boris Johnson has strongly criticised Israel for its plan to annex the West Bank calling it a “violation of international law”.
The Prime Minister said the controversial proposals by Benjamin Netanyahu would “be a gift to those who want to perpetuate the old stories about Israel”.
He has written an op-ed in a major Hebrew-language newspaper saying the UK would not recognise such a move, which he claims would “fail in their objective” of securing the country’s borders and damage its long-term goals.
Mr Johnson said he is a “passionate defender of Israel”, pointing to his experience on a Kibbutz as an 18-year-old, visiting Yad Vashem, attending former prime minister Shimon Peres’s funeral, and cycling down Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard in his time as Foreign Secretary.
“Few causes are closer to my heart than ensuring its people are protected from the menace of terrorism and anti-semitic incitement,” he wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth.
“The UK has always stood by Israel and its right to live as any nation should be able to, in peace and security. Our commitment to Israel’s security will be unshakable while I am Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
“So it is with sadness that I have followed the proposals to annex Palestinian territory.
“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.”
It comes after after Mr Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, revealed his plans for part of the West Bank this week.
While occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war, its final status has remained unresolved after decades of talks between the two sides.
The territory is home to up to three million Palestinian Arabs and around 450,000 Israeli Jews in settlements the vast majority of the international community consider illegal under international law.
Mr Netanyahu’s annexation would see Israel unilaterally proclaim sovereignty over about 30% of it, potentially in stages once the boundaries are agreed with America, who under Donald Trump are supportive of the move.
But Mr Johnson said it “would represent a violation of international law”, adding: “I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead.
“If it does, the UK will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties.”
The PM said it would “put in jeopardy the progress that Israel has made in improving relationships with the Arab and Muslim world”.
And he said the way achieve true lasting security is through a just solution for both Israelis and Palestinians, adding: “The only way it can be achieved is for both sides to return to the negotiating table.
“That must be our goal. Annexation would only take us further away from it."