A joint letter by 1.080 European parliamentarians against Israeli annexation of West Bank including the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, and the bishops of Coventry, Portsmouth, Salisbury, and Worcester, together with Rowan Williams.
Dear High Representative Borrell, dear Foreign Ministers,
We, parliamentarians from across Europe committed to a rules-based global order, share serious concerns about President Trump’s plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the imminent prospect of Israeli annexation of West Bank territory. We are deeply worried about the precedent this would set for international relations at large.
For decades, Europe has been promoting a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the form of a two-state solution, in line with international law and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Regrettably, President Trump’s plan departs from internationally agreed parameters and principles. It promotes effectively permanent Israeli control over a fragmented Palestinian territory, leaving Palestinians with no sovereignty and giving a green light to Israel to unilaterally annex significant parts of the West Bank.
In line with the Trump plan, Israel’s new coalition agreement states that the government can move forward with annexation as soon as 1 July 2020. Such a move will be fatal to the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace and will challenge the most basic norms guiding international relations, including the UN Charter.
We are profoundly concerned about the impact of annexation on the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, as well as its destabilizing potential in a region on our continent’s doorstep. These concerns are no less serious at a time when the world is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest collective emergency we have faced for decades.
In appreciation of Europe’s long-term commitment to a peaceful resolution of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, we ask European leaders to act decisively in response to this challenge. Europe must take the lead in bringing international actors together to prevent annexation and to safeguard the prospects of the two-state solution and a just resolution to the conflict.
European representatives, including High Representative Josep Borrell, have stated that annexation “could not pass unchallenged”. We fully support this: acquisition of territory by force has no place in 2020 and must have commensurate consequences. Failure to adequately respond would encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law. The rules-based global order is central to Europe’s own long-term stability and security. We have a profound interest and responsibility to protect it.
A lasting solution to the conflict must meet the legitimate aspirations and security needs and guarantee equal rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. Europe has the diplomatic tools to promote this just goal, and we stand ready to support such efforts.