by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) -Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday that Israel will act “responsibly” in pursuing plans for annexing parts of the West Bank, Israel Hayom reported. Responding to German and EU concerns that unilateral annexation would jeopardize a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Ashkenazi said annexation plans would be carried out “in dialogue with our neighbors.” The statements were made at a press conference in Jerusalem with German foreign minister Heiko Maas.
Prior to Ashkenazi’s statements, German minister Maas had said he was in Israel “to receive information about the plans of the new [Israeli] government." He explained that Germany and the EU are worried Israeli plans for annexing parts of the West Bank is a “wrong path.”
Maas is known as a “staunch supporter of Israel,” the Times of Israel reported, and he is the first senior foreign official to visit the Jewish state since the formation of the new Israeli government. Describing Germany as a “very special friend” of Israel, Maas said: “We are of the view that an annexation would not be compatible with international law, and we, therefore, continue to stand for an agreed and negotiated two-state solution.”
As Germany gets ready to take over the rotating presidencies of both the United Nations Security Council and the European Council, it is likely to play a key role in managing international responses to Israeli annexation, the Times of Israel noted.
While asserting that Germany and the European Union hold annexation to be incompatible with international law, Maas made no immediate threat of sanctions that might be brought to bear upon Israel if it proceeds with unilateral plans for extending sovereignty: “The result that we are looking for is peace in the region, that’s what’s important for the people here in the region. And I don’t want to [discuss possible sanctions] as long as no decisions have been made,” Maas said.
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