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Boris Johnson warns against annexation in Israeli newspaper article

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Vatican warns against West Bank annexation

Palestinians rivals Fatah and Hamas pledged a united campaign against Israel's prospective plans to annex territory in the occupied West Bank, in a rare joint press conference on Thursday.

Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, said he wanted to begin annexing occupied land as soon as this week in line with Trump's Mideast plan. He also mentioned Israel's clear violation of global law and that annexation would dissolve the possibility of a two-state solution, a solution that is internationally supported.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, speaking at a June 9 briefing with reporters, called annexation "an issue in which we can not be silent".

Akunis said coordination with the Trump administration could not be dismissed.

Describing himself as a "passionate defender of Israel", Johnson revealed that he had followed proposals to annex occupied Palestinian territory "with sadness", and warned that if carried out, it would "represent a violation of worldwide law".

'As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel's borders and will be contrary to Israel's own long-term interests'.

The UN secretary-general, the European Union and key Arab countries have all spoken out against annexation, saying it would violate worldwide law and all but destroy any remaining hopes of establishing a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

"I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead".

The remarks from Johnson, who is seen as one of the most personally friendly European leaders towards Israel, will come as a stark reminder of the diplomatic risks involved.

However, Mr Netanyahu says it is "not annexation", although Israel is planning to claim sovereignty over the chunks of the West Bank containing Jewish settlements.

Under the White House plan, Israel could annex as much as 30% of the occupied territory that it captured from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War.

Significantly, Johnson made his intervention in a piece translated into Hebrew for Yedioth Ahronoth, the country's most widely read paid-for publication, rather than the left-leaning Haaretz or Jerusalem Post.

Netanyahu, who has publicly voiced full-throated support for the Trump plan, said on Wednesday that talks with USA officials were ongoing, although he has not laid out a timeline for specific action.

Israel's new government is expected to present its strategy this month for implementing the so-called "Deal of the Century" proposed by the US President Donald Trump.

The Trump plan also calls for talks with the Palestinians and buy-in from Gulf Arab states that would theoretically be tasked with providing massive funds for a nascent Palestinian state's economy. The worldwide community considers the territory to be occupied and Israel's more than 120 settlements to be illegal.

Netanyahu and his senior coalition partner Benny Gantz are at odds over the timing of any unilateral annexation move.

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