British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cautioned Israel on Wednesday against annexation in the occupied West Bank, saying it would violate international law and harm its drive to improve relations with the Arab world.
“Annexation would represent a violation of international law,” Johnson said in an opinion piece for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s top-selling daily, echoing remarks he made in parliament last month.
Under the peace blueprint that U.S. President Donald Trump announced in January, Israel has said it intends to extend its sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, in up to 30 percent of the territory.
Palestinians, who have rejected the Trump proposal, seek to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel captured those areas in a 1967 war and withdrew soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005.
Israel disputes this, citing biblical, historical and political roots in the West Bank.
Johnson, whose maternal great-grandfather was a Moscow-born Jew, said he had once worked in an Israeli kibbutz during his youth. In the opinion piece, he said he has been “a passionate defender of Israel”.