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Israel's plan to annex parts of West Bank amounts to ‘declaration of war’: Hamas

This picture shows the Israeli settlement of Kokhav HaShahar in the occupied West Bank on June 18, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has severely denounced the Israeli regime’s planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, saying the contentious decision amounts to “declaration of war” on the Palestinian nation.

“The resistance considers the decision to annex the West Bank and the Jordan Valley to be a declaration of war on our people,” Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the Hamas military wing, known as the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said at a televised speech, the Arabic-language al-Aqsa television network reported on Thursday.

He added, “The resistance will be the honest and loyal guardian of the Palestinian people and their sanctities. It will make the enemy full of remorse for such a sinful decision.”

UN envoy: Israeli annexation may ignite regional conflict

Meanwhile, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov warned on Thursday that Israel’s annexation of more Palestinian territories could inflict irrevocable damage on Israeli-Palestinian relations, fuel extremism, and ignite a regional conflict.

Mladenov was speaking a day after a UN Security Council session in which Secretary General Antonio Guterres, as well as European and Arab powers, called on Netanyahu to end his annexation plans.

"Nobody wants another war, another flare-up of violence in the Middle East, and certainly not one that has such a potential to ignite conflict way beyond its borders," he said.

Mladenov’s remarks came only a day after a UN Security Council session, in which Secretary General Antonio Guterres, as well as European and Arab powers, called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end his proposed annexation plan.

7 European states warn annexation will affect ties with Israel

Moreover, seven European states warned on Wednesday that their relations with the Tel Aviv regime will be fairly strained in case of any annexation measures in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Following our obligations and responsibilities under international law, annexation would have consequences for our close relationship with Israel and will not be recognized by us,” Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Nicolas de Riviere said in a joint statement read during a virtual meeting.

He added that Israel’s close ties with France, Britain, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland and Norway would not continue if Tel Aiv pressed ahead with its annexation plan.

“ … any annexation of the West Bank, no matter how big or small it may be, … would constitute a clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter as well as the UN Security Council resolutions,” de Riviere said.

Annexation would weaken peace efforts and harm the security of the region, the French envoy underscored.

Netanyahu, who was sworn into office for another term on May 17, has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on extending “sovereignty” over settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

In response to Israel’s decision, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the end of all agreements signed with Israel and the United States on May 19.

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