Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (2 September) on the decision by the Israeli military administration to expropriate around 400 hectares of land in the Israeli‑occupied West Bank:
We regret the decision by the Israeli military administration to expropriate around 400 hectares of land near Bethlehem in the West Bank in order to facilitate the construction of further settlements.
The decision – should it be upheld – would send the wrong message at the wrong time. The German Government hopes that it will be reversed.
The German Government’s standpoint on Israel’s settlement policy is well‑known: the settlement construction in the occupied territories violates international law.
The building of new settlements will not serve to further the peace process and the two‑state solution.Steps such as this make it even more difficult to find a way back to peace negotiations to prevent the human tragedy of the last few weeks being repeated in the near future.
Especially now, the two sides must do everything they can to build trust and refrain from taking unilateral, provocative action. A negotiated two‑state solution remains the only option which offers the prospect of lasting peace.