ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reiterated its opposition to Israeli annexation of the West Bank, following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which has been seen as Washington’s approval of Israel’s plans to seize the occupied territory.
“Pakistan is opposed to any move for annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories as it would be a serious violation of international law and a dangerous escalation in an already volatile situation,” Foreign Office spokeswoman Aisha Farooqui said in a press briefing on Thursday.
“The West Bank and Jordan Valley are Palestinian territories, illegally occupied by Israel since 1967,” Farooqui said, adding that Pakistan supports the position adopted by the United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the issue of Palestine and calls upon the international community to uphold and support the rights of the Palestinians.
Pompeo was in Israel on Wednesday on a one-day trip that included meetings with Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz.
The US secretary told Israel Hayom newspaper that they had discussed annexation “but also many other issues related to it — how to deal with all the factors involved, and how to make sure the move is done properly to bring about an outcome in accordance with the vision of peace.” He said the West Bank territorial moves were an Israeli decision that Netanyahu and Gantz have a right to make.
The “vision of peace” is a reference to US President Donald Trump’s controversial Middle East peace plan, under which the vast majority of West Bank would be incorporated into Israeli territory.
On Jan. 29, a day after the plan was announced, Pakistan rejected it and repeated its call for the establishment of a “viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”
Pakistan does not recognize the state of Israel and has repeatedly supported UN resolutions regarding Palestine.
According to a 2016 UN resolution, Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity.”