Arab League, UN beat war drums over Israeli sovereignty plan

Israeli sovereignty over Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria will cause “a religious war in and beyond our region,” claimed the head of the Arab League in a UN meeting on Wednesday.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

The head of the Arab League told a high-level U.N. meeting Wednesday that Israel’s extension of  sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria could ignite “a religious war in and beyond our region.”

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the 22-member organization, claimed annexation “would not only be detrimental to the chances of peace today but will destroy any prospects for peace in the future.”

He told the Security Council it will have “broader ramifications on the international security around the world.”

The council meeting came days ahead of the July 1 date that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition deal set to begin the sovereignty process, which only impacts Jewish communities that already exist under Israeli rule.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the meeting with a call on Israel to abandon its sovereignty plans, consistent with the U.N.’s traditionally hostile posture with regard to the Jewish state.

The U.N. chief said sovereignty “would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations,” despite the fact that the U.S. State Department issued an opinion in 2019 ruling that Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria are not “illegal.”

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Guterres urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders “to commit to meaningful dialogue, with the support of the international community.” The Palestinians have for all intents and purposes boycotted the peace process for close to two decades.

The U.S. is Israel’s closest ally and President Donald Trump’s administration has been supportive of the Jewish state’s self-determination with regard to deciding which city is its capital and where to draw its borders.

Trump’s Mideast plan, unveiled in January, envisions leaving some 30% of Judea and Samaria under permanent Israeli control, while giving the Palestinians expanded autonomy in the rest of the area. The Palestinians expressed outrage at the plan, consistent with their rejectionist policies and their refusal to accept the existence of a Jewish state in any borders.

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft urged Palestinian leaders to look closely at Trump’s plan “and engage us,” stressing that “it is an opening offer.”

“The United States, under the leadership of President Trump, is addressing this core issue by offering the beginning of a conversation. And I reiterate, the beginning of a conversation,” the U.S. ambassador said. “We remain open to speaking with anyone about how to bring the parties to the table, and we both urge and welcome any and all engagement.”