EU to push Israel to ditch West Bank annexation plans

A Palestinian man argues with an Israeli border policewoman during a protest marking the 72nd anniversary of Nakba and against Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in the village of Sawiya near Nablus May 15, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 15 May 2020

EU to push Israel to ditch West Bank annexation plans

  • While EU countries are alarmed at the prospect of annexations they are divided about what action to take against Israel
  • Josep Borrell said the bloc would use “all our diplomatic capacities” to try to dissuade Israel’s incoming government from going ahead with the move

BRUSSELS: The EU will make a diplomatic push to try to stop Israel going ahead with a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said Friday.
Josep Borrell said the bloc would use “all our diplomatic capacities” to try to dissuade Israel’s incoming government from going ahead with the move, approved under US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.
While EU countries are alarmed at the prospect of annexations, which they say would violate international law and harm the chances of peace, they are divided about what action to take against Israel.
“What everybody agreed is we have to increase our efforts and our reachout to all relevant actors in the Middle East...,” Borrell said after the talks.
“We are ready to do that and we will do that in the next days using all our diplomatic capacities in order to prevent any kind of unilateral action.”
The push will involve talking to Washington and Arab countries as well as Israel and the Palestinians, Borrell said.
Israel’s long-awaited unity government will be sworn in on Sunday — after three inconclusive elections in less than a year and a power-sharing agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former rival Benny Gantz.
Some EU countries have pushed for the bloc to take a hard line against Israel, with Luxembourg’s veteran foreign minister Jean Asselborn in particular calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state.
But others have urged caution and dialogue with Israel, which is seen as an important EU partner in the Middle East.
“We are in a dialogue with the responsible parties, including in Israel,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
“We have always made it clear... that we are committed to the goal of a negotiated two-state solution, and that we believe that annexations are not compatible with international law.”


LIVE: Middle East returns to normal life amid strict COVID-19 measures 

Updated 3 min 10 sec ago

LIVE: Middle East returns to normal life amid strict COVID-19 measures 

DUBAI: Efforts to return life gradually back to some kind of normality in parts of the Middle East continue, as governments get ready to reopen borders and airlines take bookings for flights. 
Tunisia said it will open its sea, land and air borders on June 27 in the hope of rescuing its tourism industry as the coronavirus pandemic comes under control.
Emirates airline also announced that it was taking bookings for flights from Dubai to 12 Arab countries from the start of July. Emirates began operating scheduled flight services to nine destinations around the world from May 21, including London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s commercial complexes, hotels, cafes and museums reopened their doors to customers on Monday after closing for two-and-a-half months. 

June 2, Tuesday (GMT Times)

11:44 - Qatar has reported 1,826 coronavirus cases, raising total to 60,259.

11:28 -  Scientists have found 27 key proteins in the blood of people infected with COVID-19 which they say could act as predictive biomarkers for how ill a patient could become with the disease.

10:24 - Kuwait has confirmed 887 coronavirus cases and the recovery of 50 percent of total infected people.

10:22 - UAE has recorded 596 coronavirus cases and 388 recoveries.

09:43 - New reported cases of coronavirus are steadily declining in Western Europe, but not in Russia and Eastern Europe: World Health Organization spokeswoman said.

09:34 - Formula One has unveiled an eight-race schedule in Europe from July 5 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

09:32 - Iran has reported 64 coronavirus deaths, 3,117 cases, raising total infected people to 157,562 with 7,942 fatalities.

09:20 - The number of coronavirus deaths in Britain is close to 50,000, Reuters reported.

09:07 – Hong Kong will extend restrictions on foreign visitors by another three months and an eight-person limit on group gatherings by two weeks, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Tuesday.
Both measures were due to expire later in June.
Travellers to Hong Kong need to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine period.

08:45 – 12,739 people died from coronavirus in England and Wales as of May 22, the Office for National Statistics said.

08:16 – Senegal has postponed the restart of schools until further notice after several teachers tested positive for the new coronavirus, the education ministry said late on Monday.

07:51 – Russia has confirmed 8,863 coronavirus cases and 182 deaths in the past 24 hours.

07:02 – A Wuhan doctor who worked with coronavirus whistleblower Li Wenliang died of the virus last week, state media reported Tuesday, becoming China's first COVID-19 fatality in weeks.
07:00 Paris gets some of its pre-lockdown life back as cafes and restaurants partially reopen Tuesday.
06:51 – The global coronavirus death toll has topped 375,000, according to AFP tally.

06:45 – The first Rohingya refugee died from coronavirus in Bangladesh, an official said.

05:59Egypt has sanitized prisons and carried out tests on prisoners across the country after banning visits to help curb the spread of coronavirus, local daily Egypt Today reported.

05:50 – A cluster of nine coronavirus cases raised concerns in Hong Kong over renewed local transmission in a city that has been one of the most successful in keeping the pandemic under control. 

05:18 – The United States on Monday recorded 743 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, bringing its total to 105,099 since the global pandemic began.