British FM warns Israel against West Bank annexation

An Israeli soldier aims his weapon as a tire burns during a Palestinian protest against the Middle East peace plan, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank Jan. 31, 2020. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 01 February 2020

British FM warns Israel against West Bank annexation

  • The US has proposed that Israel annex the Jordan Valley and all of its West Bank settlements as part of the Middle East peace plan that was announced on Tuesday
  • “The United Kingdom is concerned by reports of possible moves toward annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel,” Raab said

LONDON: Britain’s foreign secretary warned Israel on Friday against annexing parts of the occupied West Bank.
“The United Kingdom is concerned by reports of possible moves toward annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel,” Dominic Raab said in a statement.
“Any such unilateral moves would be damaging to renewed efforts to re-start peace negotiations, and contrary to international law,” he added.
“Any changes to the status quo cannot be taken forward without an agreement negotiated by the parties themselves.” 
The US has proposed that Israel annex the Jordan Valley and all of its West Bank settlements as part of the Middle East peace plan that was announced on Tuesday. 
Britain has cautiously welcomed the plan. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday in Parliament: “No peace plan is perfect, but this has the merit of a two-state solution … It would ensure that Jerusalem is both the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday said the Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the US and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting the plan.
Speaking at an Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, he said: “We’ve informed the Israeli side ... that there will be no relations at all with them and the United States, including security ties.”
The final communique of the meeting said the ministers affirmed the Palestinian people’s right to create a state based on the land captured and occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as its capital.


Wife of British-born ‘aid worker’ demands Syria rebels release him

Updated 04 July 2020

Wife of British-born ‘aid worker’ demands Syria rebels release him

  • Tauqir Sharif, 33, was detained on June 22 by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS)
  • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sharif was detained over his alleged ties with rival rebels

ATME: The wife of a self-described aid worker stripped of his British nationality has called for his release after he was detained by rebels in Syria’s last major rebel bastion.
Tauqir Sharif, 33, was detained on June 22 by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a dominant group in Syria’s northwestern region of Idlib, his supporters say.
“We haven’t been given anything from HTS to even say what the allegations are” against him, his wife Racquell Hayden Best told AFP in the town of Atme, adding that she had been scrambling for information on his detention.
“We have heard ourselves that he is innocent. If he is an innocent man, why are you holding him in prison?” she asked.
Sharif, whose father is originally from Pakistan, hails from Chingford on the eastern outskirts of London and first arrived in Syria in 2012, according to the Live Updates From Syria organization he founded with his wife.
Britain stripped him of his British nationality in 2017, accusing him of links to an Al-Qaeda-aligned group it did not specify, the British press has said, but Sharif has denied the allegation.
HTS has not commented on Sharif’s detention, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between the group and other fighters in the Idlib region.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said Sharif was detained over his alleged ties with rival rebels.
A fragile cease-fire has since March stemmed a Russia-backed regime offensive against Idlib.
The region is home to some three million people, a large proportion of whom have been displaced from their homes by Syria’s nine-year-old war and are dependent on humanitarian aid.