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Middle East World

UAE says Israel should back off threat to annex West Bank

A Palestinian tussles with an Israeli soldier during protests against Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in the village of Sawiya near Nablus REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

A senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday that any unilateral move by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank would be a serious setback for the Middle East peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said cabinet discussions would begin on July 1 on his plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to territory Palestinians want for their own state.

“Continued Israeli talk of annexing Palestinian lands must stop,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a Twitter post.

“Any unilateral Israeli move will be a serious setback for the peace process, undermine Palestinian self determination & constitute a rejection of the international & Arab consensus towards stability & peace.”

U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states including the UAE have recently appeared to be prioritizing close ties with the United States that are vital to countering Iran over traditional unswerving support for the Palestinians.

Gulf states largely voiced support for a peace plan proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump in January for creating a Palestinian state but demilitarized and with borders drawn to meet Israeli security needs, while granting U.S. recognition of Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank land.

The Palestinians have rejected the plan, which diverges from previous U.S. policy and a 2002 Arab League-endorsed initiative that offered Israel normal relations in return for an independent Palestinian state and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.



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