Britain warns Israel against annexation

UK foreign office expresses concern over possible Israeli application of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

Britain on Friday cautioned Israel against applying sovereignty over Judea and Samara in line with a new Middle East initiative outlined by US President Donald Trump.

The UK foreign office said in a statement quoted by AFP that London was "concerned by reports of possible moves toward annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel”.

"Any such unilateral moves would be damaging to renewed efforts to re-start peace negotiations, and contrary to international law," it added.

"Any changes to the status quo cannot be taken forward without an agreement negotiated by the parties themselves."

Britain has been extremely cautious in response to the so-called “Deal of the Century” peace plan announced by Trump this week.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, commented on the Trump peace plan on Tuesday, saying, “This is clearly a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort.”

"A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential of the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future,” he added.

UK Foreign Office minister Andrew Morrison said Thursday that "we owe America and its president at least the time to consider this plan".

He also stressed, however, that "this is not our plan" and that Britain was not fully backing it.

"Of course we welcome this plan," Morrison told parliament, according to AFP. "This doesn't mean we endorse its contents."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week urged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn not to be negative about the plan.

“I would urge him rather than being so characteristically negative to reach out to his friend, my friend, our friends in the Palestinian Authority, to Mahmoud Abbas – for whom I have the highest respect – and urge him for once to engage, to get talking rather than to leave a political vacuum,” said Johnson after Corbyn called on Johnson to stand up to the US and tell Trump “frankly and candidly that on this you are wrong.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)