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Israel’s annexation plan shuts door on 'peace talks' with Palestinians: UN chief

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, the United States, on February 4, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has condemned Israel's controversial plan to annex much of the occupied West Bank, saying the move will shut the door on possible "peace negotiations" with the Palestinians.

Guterres made the remarks in a recent meeting with the Arab Group delegation, including Oman, the Arab League and Palestinian officials, denouncing Israeli settlements and the looming annexation plan as illegal.

He noted that the annexation proposal will “effectively end the [so-called] two-state solution and close the door on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

The Arab Group, for its part, slammed the “illegality of all colonization and annexation measures by Israel in Occupied Palestine.” 

The group's delegates emphasized that Israel’s “actions are severely violating the Palestinian people’s rights and destroying the viability of the [so-called] two-state solution on the pre-1967 borders.”

If not stopped, Israel’s illegal actions will bring “only more conflict and suffering” and impede “prospects for peace and security in the entire region,” the group pointed out.

Jordan condemns Israel’s plan to build 1000s of new settler units

Meanwhile, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has denounced the Israeli regime’s approval for the construction of about 7,000 new settler units in the West Bank.

The ministry spokesman, Daifallah al-Fayez, in a press release, described the plan as a flagrant violation of the international law and UN resolutions.

He also termed the new Israeli settlement plan a “very dangerous unilateral step” undermining the so-called two-state solution.

Fayez then called on the international community to take effective and serious actions to prevent Israel from carrying out its settlement plans, warning that the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement expansion policies will exacerbate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

On Wednesday, the Israeli minister for military affairs, Naftali Bennett, granted the green light for the expansion of the Efrat settlement, located 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) south of Jerusalem al-Quds, by about 275 acres (1.11 square kilometers), when he endorsed the plan for some 7,000 new settler units in the 11,000-resident municipality, Israeli English-language daily newspaper the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned the Israeli plan later in the day.

“Such Israeli decisions constitute an utter disregard for the international law and a flagrant defiance of the international outcry against Israeli settlement construction activities and the potential annexation plan,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added, “Such settlement construction approvals also constitute an act of disrespect for international warnings that increased settlement construction activities and possible annexation of parts of the West Bank would gravely threaten regional stability, and would undermine the prospects for the [so-called] two-state solution.”

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