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Statement by the Federal Foreign Office on the situation in the Middle East

17.12.2018 - Press release

A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (17 December) on the situation in the West Bank:

We view the increasing and ongoing violence in the West Bank with grave concern and categorically condemn the fatal terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians that were apparently carried out by Hamas. There was further violence at the weekend, including attacks by radical settlers against Palestinians. There can be no justification for these attacks, regardless of which side carries them out. The calls for the murder of Palestinian politicians are not acceptable. The use of violence in the search for attackers must be proportionate and ensure the protection of the Palestinian civilian population.The Israeli Government has announced that it will legalise outposts in the West Bank that are illegal even under Israeli law. It is thus resuming a plan to legalise outposts that the German Government previously rejected in 2017 on political and legal grounds. Our legal position on the construction of settlements in the West Bank remains unchanged. We also doubt that a measure like this is appropriate as a response to terrorist violence against Israelis. The planned measure will not help to bring about de-escalation and poses the risk of further exacerbating the basis for a two-state solution.

Background information

In recent days, there has been a spate of attacks and confrontations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in which a number of people have been killed and injured. In response to the violent attacks carried out by Palestinians, the Israeli Government announced on 14 December that it would retrospectively legalise some 2000 housing units on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank (outposts). These outposts are illegal under Israeli law.

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