Turkey steps up to act against Israeli plans on West Bank
As Turkey steps up to mobilize the international community against Israeli plans to annex West Bank, Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu on May 21 had phone conversations with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen.
They discussed the steps to be taken within the OIC against Israel’s annexation plan, the minister tweeted on May 21.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously had a phone conversation with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın earlier voiced Turkey’s rejection of Israel’s plan.
“The announcement of Israel’s newly established government at the oath-taking ceremony to annex the settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley is an extension to Israel’s occupation policy that ignores international law,” Kalın said in a written statement on May 20.
“The problem in Palestine is the occupation itself. We reject steps to change the religious, historical, and legal status of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is our red line. Jerusalem is our holy. Jerusalem is our trust. Those who betray safety will account for that,” he said.
Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank on July 1, as agreed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, the head of the Blue and White party after Israel’s parliament approved on May 17 the new unity government.
Netanyahu now wants to push forward his plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, territory Palestinians want for their independent state.
“These regions are where the Jewish nation was born and rose. It is time to apply Israeli law on them and write another great chapter in the annals of Zionism,” Netanyahu said, addressing the Knesset before the vote.
But while Netanyahu has set July 1 as a starting point for cabinet discussions on the highly contentious issue, there is no publicly stated deadline for the annexation of land that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Palestinians have vehemently opposed such a move, urging international sanctions against Israel in response. It would be certain to heighten tensions in the West Bank and Gaza.
Abbas said Palestine is terminating all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the U.S., including on security.