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British MPs press for sanctions on Israel over West Bank annexations

last update : 02/05/2020 - 10:01 PM ( Since 3 weeks )

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About 130 British current and former lawmakers and officials from different political parties have called for sanctions against Israel if it goes ahead with its plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, emphasizing that such move is “illegal under international law.”

This came in a recent letter signed by the MPs, including former Conservative Party chairman Chris Patten and former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell.

They urged British prime minister Boris Johnson to make it clear that annexation is illegal under international law and "will have severe consequences including sanctions.”

"International law is crystal clear. The acquisition of territory through war is prohibited," the letter said.

According to The Guardian website, the signatories, who also include diplomats and prominent campaigners against anti-Semitism in the Labour party such as Margaret Hodge, pointed out that the UK did not hesitate to sanction Russia after the annexation of Crimea, stressing that any move in the West Bank would warrant a similar response.

The Guardian said the letter was organized by the Council for Arab British Understanding (Caabu) and expressed the signatories’ outrage at the new Israeli government’s annexation plan.

The signatories also described the Israeli move “as a mortal blow to the chances of peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on any viable two-state solution.”

They accused the Israeli government of clearly using “the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic to seek to implement this egregious plan” and urged the British government to do “everything in its power to prevent this.”

“Our government has stated that any annexation ‘cannot go unchallenged. The government must now make clear publicly to Israel that any annexation will have severe consequences including sanctions. Words are not enough: prime minister Netanyahu has ignored our words. We need to prevent his government from setting this alarmingly dangerous precedent in international relations,” they underlined in their letter.

This came after Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu set July 1st for the start of cabinet discussions on imposing sovereignty over West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley. Netanyahu’s announcement was part of a coalition deal he signed recently with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party.

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