NEW YORK – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Israel on Wednesday to abandon its plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning that it threatened the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-State solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations,” Guterres told the U.N. Security Council.
“I call on the Israeli Government to abandon its annexation plans,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet is preparing to start discussions on July 1 on annexation of the West Bank, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war and that Palestinians seek for a state.
Palestinians vehemently oppose the annexation plan, as do most world powers. Palestinian leaders have also completely rejected a peace proposal unveiled in January by U.S. President Donald Trump, which would have seen Washington recognize Jewish settlements as part of Israel.
Senior aides to Trump began discussions on Tuesday on whether to give Netanyahu a green light for his annexation plan.
Guterres called on the Middle East Quartet of mediators – the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations – “to take up our mandated mediation role and find a mutually agreeable framework for the parties to re-engage, without preconditions, with us and other key states.”