On 28 January, US President Donald Trump announced his plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The plan calls for the incorporation of existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, and East Jerusalem into the state of Israel, and for Jerusalem to become the undivided capital of Israel.
Soon after, the agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz to form a coalition government in Israel included possible provision for a bill to come before the Knesset allowing the permanent annexation of Palestinian lands, along the lines that had been given the green light by the US Peace Plan.
The prospect of Israel annexing parts of Palestine has led to a flurry of diplomatic opposition among European and Arab governments. Prime Minister Trudeau spoke out to strengthen Canada’s opposition following publication of an “open letter” from over 50 former diplomats, ambassadors and Cabinet Ministers pointing out that, “The unilateral annexation of territory is strictly prohibited under international law.”
A June 30 WFM – Canada letter to the government expressed the organization’s opposition to any annexation of territory. It also suggested that Canadian officials give consideration to adopting a position in favour of recognizing Jerusalem as a “corpus separatum,” a jurisdiction that would be administered by the United Nations. According to WFMC-Victoria Branch President Bill Pearce, who has written a legal history of the idea, “The Corpus Separatum was incorporated in UN resolutions on the new state of Israel after it was created in 1948. The concept has never been abandoned by the UN, but was also never implemented. At the time, in the early 1950s, Israel didn’t go along due to security concerns.”
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