The top Palestinian diplomat says any Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territories will be a "crime" in his speech at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag and a placard during a protest near the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 11, 2020.
A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag and a placard during a protest near the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Any Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territories would be a "crime," the top Palestinian diplomat told the UN Security Council on Wednesday, warning of immediate repercussions if that occurs.

While everyone speaks of a situation at the crossroads, said Palestinian representative Riad al Maliki, "Unfortunately the driver is Israel and seems it will not stop at the crossroads to assess the implications of its choices."

"Israel seems determined to ignore that big red stop sign the international community erected to save lives," he said.

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UN chief calls on Israel to abandon West Bank annexation plan

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel on Wednesday to abandon plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning this threatened prospects for peace with the Palestinians.

"If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations," Guterres told the UN Security Council.

"I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans," he said.

Turkey seeks an end to annexation plan

Turkey also reiterated its call for Israel to abandon its plans.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Israel should not "proceed with its illegal annexation plans," in a written statement addressed to a virtual meeting of the UN Security Council.

He said the international community has to maintain support for a two-state solution and "Turkey is ready to contribute to all international efforts towards this end."

"Therefore, it is imperative for the international community to exert utmost effort to stop Israel from further expanding these illegal settlements," he added.

Annexation discussions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet is preparing to start discussions on July 1 on annexation of the West Bank, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war and that Palestinians seek for a state.

Palestinians vehemently oppose the annexation plan, as do most world powers. Palestinian leaders have also completely rejected a peace proposal unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump, in which Washington would recognise Jewish settlements as part of Israel.

"Should Israel decide to extend its sovereignty, it will be doing so with respect to areas over which it has always maintained a legitimate, historical and legal claim," Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon told the council.

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Senior aides to Trump began discussions on Tuesday on whether to give Netanyahu a green light for his annexation plan. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that extending Israeli sovereignty was a decision "for Israelis to make."

"I understand that many of you have concerns," US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft told the council. "At the same time, we ask that you also hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for acts they are responsible for."

Guterres called on the Middle East quartet of mediators⁠ —  the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations ⁠— "to take up our mandated mediation role and find a mutually agreeable framework for the parties to re-engage, without preconditions, with us and other key states."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies