Four global church bodies have expressed concern over the proposed annexation of occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank by the Israeli Government, saying such a move would be "in direct violation of international law".

In a joint ecumenical statement released on Monday, the World Council of Churches, World Communion of Reformed Churches, ACT Alliance and Lutheran World Federation called on the international community "to take immediate action to directly address this unilateral action".

"Annexation of such territories is in direct violation of international law and goes against several international agreements, UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949..." the statement said.

"The new threat of annexation entrenches and compounds the ongoing situation of occupation, that has for far too long undermined the rights and future of Palestinian people."

Israel annexation protest

People take part in a protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank and Trump's mideast initiative, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Tuesday, 23rd June. PICTURE: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner/File photo.

The statement added that the planned annexation would be "a serious obstacle for the achievement of justice and peace between Israelis and Palestinians".

"It will undermine even more the rights of Palestinians, reducing their mobility, their access to land and livelihoods, to adequate infrastructure and basic services. It will increase forced displacement, and it could prevent humanitarian organizations’ access in order to provide basic services and the necessary lifesaving interventions."

In May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was committed to annexing parts of the occupied Palestinian territories from 1st July.  But this week it was reported that the alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz has suggested the annexation would have to wait as the nation deals with the coronavirus crisis.

Last week, AP reported that President Donald Trump’s top national security aides have been unable to reach a decision on whether to support the planned annexation.