German foreign minister to visit Israel, warn against annexation

Date:

Netanyahu has said he will bring sovereignty in the West Bank to a vote in the coming weeks, which the coalition agreement would allow him to do as early as July 1.

erman Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wears a face mask next to his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio (not pictured) after a meeting to discuss the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Berlin, Germany, June 5, 2020 (photo credit: MICHAEL KAPPELER/POOL VIA REUTERS)

erman Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wears a face mask next to his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio (not pictured) after a meeting to discuss the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Berlin, Germany, June 5, 2020

(photo credit: MICHAEL KAPPELER/POOL VIA REUTERS)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to visit Israel this week to warn Israeli leaders against moving forward with annexing parts of the West Bank.

Maas plans to meet with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz before heading to Amman.

Netanyahu has said he will bring sovereignty in the West Bank to a vote in the coming weeks, which the coalition agreement would allow him to do as early as July 1.

This would coincide with Germany taking the Council of the European Union’s presidency, which rotates every six months, and presiding over the UN Security Council for a month.

The German government is concerned that the move will force it to choose between its alliance with Israel and its respect for international law.

In early May, 11 European ambassadors to Israel formally protested the move. The UK, Germany, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and the EU protested to Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for Europe Anna Azari in a video conference, as first reported by Channel 13.

Germany, Estonia and Belgium, also made statements against annexation at the UNSC, as did the UK. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said that “any annexation would constitute a serious violation of international law.”

Maas has recently spoken with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh about Germany’s concerns about annexation, according to Axios.

Recently, Safadi spoke publicly about annexation, saying “the decision will kill the two-state solution and fuel the conflict, margin the one-state option an inevitable fate, which the world cannot stay silent on, especially with the institutionalization of apartheid and racism,” according to a report from the Jordan News Agency.

Safadi also warned that the move would impact the ties between Israel and Jordan.



Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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