United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Israel on Wednesday to abandon its plans to annex settlements in the West Bank, warning that it threatened the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
"If implemented, annexation 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," Guterres told the UN Security Council.
"I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans," he said.
Guterres called on the Middle East Quartet of mediators - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - "to take up our mandated mediation role and find a mutually agreeable framework for the parties to re-engage, without preconditions, with us and other key states."
In addition, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of Arab League, warned that annexation will compromise any future chance of peace.
"Since 1993, the Palestinians choose peace - out of hope that it will bring forth a sovereign Palestinian state," said Gheit.
"For 30 years, it did not happen. Despite the resignations, the idea of a two-state solution remained in place. If annexation occurs, all hope for peace in the future will be destroyed."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet is preparing to start discussions on July 1 on annexation of the West Bank, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war and that Palestinians seek for a state.
Palestinians vehemently oppose the annexation plan, as do most world powers. Palestinian leaders have also completely rejected a peace proposal unveiled in January by U.S. President Donald Trump, which would have seen Washington recognize Jewish settlements as part of Israel.
Senior aides to Trump began discussions on Tuesday on whether to give Netanyahu a green light for his annexation plan.
"I understand that many of you have concerns with this issue of the potential extension of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank," U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft told the council. "At the same time, we ask that you also hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for acts they are responsible for."