Jimmy Carter says Israeli annexation would be 'illegal' land grab

Jimmy Carter says Israeli annexation would be 'illegal' land grab
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Former President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterPresidents, crises and revelations Trump: Obama's eulogy of John Lewis a 'terrible,' 'angry' speech Big bank hypocrisy: inconsistent morals to drive consistent profits MORE on Wednesday spoke out against Israel's expected move to annex parts of the West Bank, saying it would violate international law and risk irrevocable damage to hard-won peace accords in the Middle East.

The 95-year-old Carter, who is renowned for his leadership brokering an Israeli-Egyptian peace accord in 1979, said annexation by Israel would violate that treaty and agreements under the Oslo and Camp David accords, which outlined a roadmap to peace between the two nations and steps to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.

“The envisioned annexation would amount to a massive, illegal expropriation of Palestinian territory,” Carter said in a statement along with Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander.

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“Annexation must be stopped, and the Israelis and Palestinians should return to meaningful negotiations based on U.N. resolutions and previous bilateral agreements,” they said.

The 39th president further condemned Israel’s decades-long expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, saying the policy jeopardized “any possible establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel."

“Formal annexation will signal the end of the internationally agreed-upon two-state framework for peace, and with it the possibility for a just solution to the conflict," he continued.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE had given a July 1 deadline to announce plans for annexation, believed to be within the parameters of the Trump administration’s “vision for peace” solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and unveiled in January.

The Trump plan offered Israel taking control of roughly 30 percent of the West Bank and all of the Jordan Valley and envisioned a disjointed Palestinian state encircled by an Israeli security barrier.

Carter said such moves violate international laws and further warned it would damage peace treaties Israel maintains with Jordan and Egypt, the only two Arab nations that have formal relations with the Jewish state.

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“Israel’s planned annexation of up to 30% of the West Bank as early as today would violate international laws prohibiting the acquisition of territory by force and changing the status of occupied territories,” he said in the statement. “The planned move would violate the Oslo and Camp David Accords and jeopardize Israel’s peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt.”

Netanyahu offered no announcement of annexation on Wednesday. The silence followed pushback from the international community and within Netanyahu’s own government opposing such moves.

Trump also withheld offering public support ahead of Netanyahu’s self-imposed deadline.