U.N. Mideast envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that Israeli moves to annex parts of the West Bank and expedited settlement expansion, along with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, could spark violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

Mladenov said that annexation would also “constitute a serious violation of international law, deal a devastating blow to the two-state solution, close the door to a renewal of negotiations, and threaten efforts to advance regional peace,” according to an AP report.

Also on Thursday, the European Union warned that the newly formed Israeli government that annexing parts of the West Bank “would constitute a serious violation of international law.”

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour told the council that cooperation with Israel to combat the coronavirus pandemic is already being undermined because of the threat of annexation. Moving forward with annexation “will destroy the two-state solution and entrench Israel’s military control over the Palestinian people and land,” said Mansour.

He called on the U.N. Security Council, General Assembly, parliaments, judicial bodies and other organizations to take “deterrent action” against Israel, according to the report.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party, signed a coalition agreement that includes a plan to annex parts of Judea and Samaria starting on July 1.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that it was up to Israel whether or not to annex territory in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, and that discussions on the issue are taking place through private channels with the Israeli government.

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon and acting U.S. deputy ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet did not speak about annexation. Danon said that “Israel has chosen to put aside politics,” and has increased cooperation with the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to battle the coronavirus, according to the AP.

Danon accused the Palestinians of accepting aid while the P.A. “spreads lies and incites against Israel in the media and in official letters to the council,” including blaming Israeli soldiers for the virus. Addressing Mansour, he said: “The Palestinian Authority must decide if incitement against Israel is more important than the fruitful cooperation intended to save Palestinian lives.”

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.