United Nations envoy warns Israel of 'serious implications' of sovereignty plan

'Annexation is a big threat,' says UN envoy, warning that Israel would face "difficult implications" if it chooses to apply sovereignty.

David Rosenberg ,

Nikolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace
Nikolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace
Flash 90

A senior United Nations official warned Israel against implementing its plan to apply sovereignty to Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, claiming the move would have serious consequences for the Jewish state.

Speaking at a special online conference hosted Sunday by Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies and the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov lauded cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to combat the coronavirus pandemic, while lamenting that the cooperation on health issues did not translate to steps towards a final status agreement.

"The coronavirus has enabled some exemplary Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on the ground, especially in health-related issues, but it did not create the necessary political drive to resolve the conflict,” said Mladenov.

The UN envoy went on to warn that any Israeli moves to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria would be illegal under international law and would have “difficult” implications.

“In contrast, annexation is a big threat. It is prohibited under international law, and will undermine the rules-based international order. It will have legal, political and security implications that will be difficult to deal with.”

“Annexation will damage prospects for peace, and encourage radicalization on all sides. It will also diminish the prospects for normalization of ties between Israel and Arab states.”

Last month, Mladenov made similar comments condemning Israel’s plans to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, saying: “Annexation of parts of the West Bank would 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.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has vowed to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and all Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration released its Middle East peace plan, which provides for the application of Israeli territory over the Jordan Valley, Dead Sea area, and all Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria.

Under the plan, the US will recognize Israeli sovereignty if it is carried out along the perimeters laid out under the plan, including coordinating with the US to delineate the areas to be placed under Israeli law, and leaving the door open to final status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority for at least four years.