Jordan warns of annexation's grave impact on ties with Israel
Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank would have grave consequences for its ties with the Hashemite Kingdom, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Tuesday.
"We stand at a defining crossroads,” he told the 15-member Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which held a virtual conference on Tuesday. “We either fall deeper into the abyss of conflict and hopelessness, or we save the peace that is a regional and international necessity.
“The message should be clear. Annexation will not go unanswered. For if it does, there will only be fiercer conflict. Annexation will make the two-state solution an impossibility,” Safadi added.
“We unequivocally warn against the grave consequence of annexation for the quest for regional peace and for Jordanian-Israeli relations.”
The meeting to oversee donor funding for the PA was chaired by Norway. Among the participants were representatives from the Palestinian Authority and Israel as well as the Quartet, which is composed of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States.
The Palestinians at the meeting were represented by PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh; Finance Minister Shukri Bishara also attended. Israel was represented by its Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem.
In the summary statement put out after the meeting, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry warned against developments that harm cooperation between Israel and the PA, especially when the PA is struggling with COVID-19 and a severe economic crisis.
Participants called for increased donor support for the Palestinians, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said, noting that the growing division between Israel and the Palestinians was evident.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said after the meeting, “in their statements, many donors, including Norway, urged the parties to refrain from unilateral actions that could undermine the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution.”
“The Israeli plan to annex parts of the West Bank is incompatible with the goal of achieving a viable two-state solution, Søreide said. "If implemented it would be in contravention of international law and undermine peace and security in the region.”
“The declaration by the Palestinian leadership that they are absolved of all agreements with Israel and the US has uncertain ramifications; this calls into question the foundation on which the donors base their assistance,” she said.
Still, Israel and the PA said they wanted to continue to work with the committee, and donors expressed an interest in continuing their support, she said.
“It is high time that credible steps are taken towards resuming negotiations to resolve outstanding issues such as borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees,” Søreide said.
The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, “our message from this meeting is clear and simple. At this critical juncture, for peace in the Middle East, both parties must avoid unilateral steps and resume dialogue. It is urgent that Israel refrains from steps that would lead to the annexation of any occupied Palestinian territory.
"We can, and we must find a path toward meaningful negotiations," he said. "The EU remains ready to do whatever it can to assist and facilitate and to help in this process."