Boris Johnson urges Israel not to go ahead with West Bank annexation

A Palestinian demonstrator in Gaza City flashes the victory sign in

A Palestinian demonstrator in Gaza City flashes the victory sign in a"Day of Rage to protest Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has missed his self-imposed target date for annexation of occupied Palestinian territories, as Boris Johnson made a personal intervention in a front-page article in an Israeli newspaper to warn of the illegality of the move.

"Annexation would put in jeopardy the progress that Israel has made in improving relationships with the Arab and Muslim world", Johnson wrote, calling for a solution that allows justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.

"We can not support an undemocratic system in which Israel would permanently rule over a Palestinian people denied self-determination or equal rights", the letter, which has not been officially released yet, but a copy of which was made available to the media, read in part.

"If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of worldwide law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations", he told the Security Council.

Annexation is opposed by most countries but was based on the Trump administration's peace proposal released in January.

With no announcement now scheduled on Israel's self-imposed kick-off date, opponents of the plan - notably Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza - were mobilising.

"As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel's borders and will be contrary to Israel's own long-term interests", he wrote.

Mr Johnson warned that "annexation would represent a violation of global law".

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What's next: Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders and their allies advocate conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel should it move ahead with annexation, something that center-left and progressive advocacy groups such as J Street have started advocating in recent months. "If it does, the United Kingdom will not recognize any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties".

The remarks from Johnson, who is seen as one of the most personally friendly European leaders towards Israel, will come as a stark reminder of the diplomatic risks involved. However, key figures in the administration - the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner key among them - have reportedly cooled on any unilateral moves by Israel.

Israeli settlers walk on the closed Palestinian Al Shuhada street lined with Israeli flags in the H2 area of the city of Hebron, in the occupied West Bank on June 30, 2020. Israel captured those areas in a 1967 war and withdrew soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005.

Netanyahu has voiced enthusiastic support for the Trump plan - which has been roundly rejected by the Palestinians - but the right-wing premier has not revealed his intentions for enacting the USA proposals. "It will end any chance for a future Palestinian state and our right to self-determination", said Assaf.

However, uncertainty surrounds Netanyahu's position in light of widespread global rejection to the plan along with differences with the U.S. administration on its application.

"It seems unlikely to me that this will happen today", said Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a member of the Blue and White party, which partnered with Netanyahu's Likud in an uneasy coalition government earlier this year.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned if Israel goes ahead with the plan, Palestinians would unilaterally declare a state along the pre-1967 borders.

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