United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has labeled Israel’s hope to extend sovereignty over parts of the West Bank of the Jordan Valley as “a threat” that would “would constitute a most serious violation of international law.”
During a teleconference of the United Nations Security Council, the world body’s chief then called upon Jerusalem to “abandon” its plan for the disputed territories.
“Israel’s threat to annex parts of the occupied West Bank has alarmed Palestinians, many Israelis and the broader international community,” stated Guterres. “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,” he said.
The Secretary General’s comments reflected the widespread position of the majority of member states participating in the monthly UNSC discussion on the Mideast. The United States was among the few nations holding an alternate position.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft addressed her colleagues, saying, ““I understand that many of you have concerns with this issue of the potential extension of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank,” but that “at the same time, we ask that you also hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for acts they are responsible for.”
Questioning whether repetition of past events with the expectation of a different result is the right course of action to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ambassador Craft underscored that “It does not help anyone to only look backwards and point to what could have been. The Palestinian leadership has a responsibility to pursue the prosperity of their people. At the end of the day, is reverting to old talking points the best we can do as an international community?”
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, who was an invited guest at the meeting, was quick to dismiss the Americans as biased. He charged that “Israel is testing the resolve of the international community -thinking its colonial appetite will prevail over the collective international will to advance regional peace and security, and to preserve the rule-based multilateral order. We must prove it wrong.”
In response to the repeated condemnations and warnings voiced over prospects of so-called “prospects of annexation,” the Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon lambasted the Palestinian narrative which claims historic ownership over the West Bank. “Let’s be honest, let’s be clear,” said Danon, who was also invited to attend the session. He stressed that “The PLO is not and never was a state, and has never been the sovereign over this territory. Never. Prove me wrong with that.”
The Israeli UN Ambassador went on to highlight ancient ties his nation holds with the so-called West Bank, which includes the Biblical Districts of Judea and Samaria. “There is a strong and undeniable connection between the Jewish people and their historic homeland of Judea and Samaria,” he proclaimed, emphasizing that “This has been true for over three millennia and no Palestinian propaganda can change that.”