European powers concerned by Netanyahu annexation plans

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

BERLIN (Reuters) - Five major European nations said they were deeply concerned about Israel’s announcement of its intention to annex areas of the West Bank.

"This would, if implemented, constitute a serious breach of international law," the German Foreign Ministry said on Friday on Twitter here.

“France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom will continue to call on all parties to refrain from actions in contravention of international law which would imperil the viability of a two-state solution, based on the 1967 lines, and make it harder to achieve a just and lasting peace,” the ministry’s statement said.

It added that Israel had the right to security and to strongly condemn recent attacks from Gaza.

The Foreign Ministry later added the statement was first issued late on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week announced his intention to annex the Jordan Valley, a large swathe of the occupied West Bank, if he wins a closely contested election.

Reporting by Thomas Seythal and Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Paul Carrel