France Threatens Reprisal If Annexation Proceeds

israel annexation
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File)

The international drumbeat against annexation grew ever stronger on Wednesday as France repeated its threat of unspecified punitive action if Israel disregards the warnings.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a parliamentary hearing that “annexation of Palestinian territories, whatever the perimeters, would seriously throw into question the parameters to resolve the conflict,” according to Reuters.

“An annexation decision could not be left without consequences and we are examining different options at a national level and also in coordination with our main European partners.”

The German parliament was expected to pass a resolution later in the day calling on its government to dissuade Israel from taking unilateral action in Yehuda and Shomron, The Times of Israel said.

But the non-binding motion, which will likely pass, rules out sanctions against Israel as unproductive, a position already taken by the foreign ministry.

The resolution urges Berlin to use its “special relations and contacts [with Yerushalayim] to express to the Israeli government our concerns and our urgent demand to refrain from annexation…”

In Israel, Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli Military Intelligence and a leading expert on defense and foreign policy, wrote an op-ed arguing that the price of extending sovereignty would not be worth the risks.

Yadlin cited the distinct possibility it would set off a new cycle of violence, would entail unacceptable economic costs, would seriously damage the country diplomatically, and undermined its moral standing in the world.

“Over the long-term it would challenge the country’s fundamental principles by bringing Israel closer to a “one-state reality” in which Israel loses either its democratic or its Jewish character,” Yadlin warned.

“But there are still four people who can prevent this blunder from going forward,” he said, and urged President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏, Benny Gantz and Mahmoud Abbas to bring the process to a halt.

Earlier in the day, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson published his view of the matter on the front page of Israel’s mass-circulation daily, Yediot Ahronot.

“As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel’s borders and will be contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests,” Johnson wrote, adding that annexation “would put in jeopardy” the gains Israel has made in recent years in improving relations with the Arab world.

“I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead. If it does, the U.K. will not recognize any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties,” he said.