The UN envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, reiterated today his position against the Israeli annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank and warned that “another war here would be a tragedy” and could trigger a regional conflict.
“We are concerned that this decision will have economic and security repercussions on the ground that will affect the lives of Israelis and Palestinians,” Mladenov said during a meeting of the Association of Foreign Journalists in Jerusalem.
Although he did not detail whether he believes that if the situation were annexed, it would escalate to an armed conflict, he did acknowledge that there are multiple factors that could trigger violence, including “the fact that the Palestinians feel that there is no prospect of a peaceful solution to the conflict,” something that “would create opportunities for the emergence of more radical sectors with destructive intent.”
Mladenov reiterated that the Israeli annexation plans would harm the prospects for a negotiated exit from the conflict and was particularly concerned at what he considers a possible “abandonment of the essence of the peace process”, which would lead to more unilateral actions by both parties and where “force would replace dialogue”.
In addition, based on the possibility that Israel does not annex all the planned territories but only some specific settlements, he mentioned that the magnitude of the annexation is not relevant as long as it generates the collapse of the political process, including the risk of the disappearance of the Palestinian National Authority, whose control over parts of the occupied West Bank he said: “will become more difficult if not impossible.”
On the other hand, he warned that the ties that Israel has built with Arab countries in the region would become very difficult to maintain.
For all these reasons, he called for a dialogue that includes the Quartet for Peace in the Middle East, a group formed by the UN itself, the United States, Russia and the European Union, and which also includes the presence of Israelis, Palestinians and other states. region of.
The Israeli government plans to start the annexation process, set out in the US peace proposal, on July 1 next, although it is expected to be carried out gradually.
The measure has motivated the unanimous rejection of the Palestinians, multiple Arab states and countries around the world, considering it incompatible with international law.