France asks Israel to drop West Bank annexation plans

Macron told Netanyahu that France remained committed to Israel’s security and “expressed his attachment to the friendship and confidence that links France and Israel.” (File/AFP)
Updated 10 July 2020

France asks Israel to drop West Bank annexation plans

  • Macron said annexation “would jeopardize the possibility of a two-state solution”
  • The controversial move was endorsed in a Middle East plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January

PARIS, France: Emmanuel Macron asked Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refrain from annexing Palestinian territory in the West Bank and elsewhere during a telephone call between the two leaders, the French president’s office said on Friday.
Macron “emphasised that such a move would contravene international law and jeopardize the possibility of a two-state solution as the basis of a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” his office said in a statement after the call on Thursday.
It was the latest move by European leaders pressing Netanyahu to drop plans to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley.
The controversial move was endorsed in a Middle East plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January.
Israel’s government had set July 1 as the date when it could begin taking over the Palestinian areas, where the population of Israeli settlers has grown since the 1967 Six-Day War.
The foreign ministries of France and Germany, along with those of Egypt and Jordan — the only Arab states to have peace deals with Israel — warned this week that any annexation could have “consequences” for relations.
But Macron told Netanyahu that France remained committed to Israel’s security and “expressed his attachment to the friendship and confidence that links France and Israel,” his office said.


What We Are Reading Today; Goya: A Portrait of the Artist by Janis Tomlinson

Updated 22 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today; Goya: A Portrait of the Artist by Janis Tomlinson

The life of Francisco Goya (1746–1828) coincided with an age of transformation in Spanish history that brought upheavals in the country’s politics and at the court which Goya served, changes in society, the devastation of the Iberian Peninsula in the war against Napoleon, and an ensuing period of political instability. 

In this revelatory biography, Janis Tomlinson draws on a wide range of documents—including letters, court papers, and a sketchbook used by Goya in the early years of his career—to provide a nuanced portrait of a complex and multifaceted painter and printmaker, whose art is synonymous with compelling images of the people, events, and social revolution that defined his life and era.Tomlinson challenges the popular image of the artist as an isolated figure obsessed with darkness and death, showing how Goya’s likeability and ambition contributed to his success at court, and offering new perspectives on his youth, rich family life, extensive travels, and lifelong friendships. She explores the full breadth of his imagery—from scenes inspired by life in Madrid to visions of worlds without reason, from royal portraits to the atrocities of war. 

She sheds light on the artist’s personal trials, including the deaths of six children and the onset of deafness in middle age, but also reconsiders the conventional interpretation of Goya’s late years as a period of disillusion, viewing them instead as years of liberated artistic invention, most famously in the murals on the walls of his country house, popularly known as the “black” paintings.

A monumental achievement, Goya: A Portrait of the Artist is the definitive biography of an artist whose faith in his art and his genius inspired paintings, drawings, prints, and frescoes that continue to captivate, challenge, and surprise us two centuries later.