A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (18 January) on the announcement yesterday of Israeli settlement plans:
The Federal Government is very concerned about the approval of 780 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Moving ahead with the construction of settlements is in violation of international law and of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. It makes a negotiated two-state solution and an end to the occupation more difficult. The Federal Government calls on those involved to stop settlement activities and to permanently halt the tendering procedure for construction projects in the new Givat Hamatos settlement in East Jerusalem.
The Federal Government reiterates that amendments to the lines of 4 June 1967, including those with regard to Jerusalem, can only be agreed by both parties through negotiations.
This requires resumption of a credible dialogue, with the aim of restarting direct negotiations between the two parties.
Germany is prepared to actively support this process – including in cooperation with France, Jordan and Egypt through the so-called Munich format. A negotiated two-state solution remains the best solution to the Middle East conflict, both with a view to guaranteeing Israel’s security and safeguarding the rights of the Palestinians.
On 17 January, the Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration approved plans to build 780 housing units in the West Bank. On 15 November, the Israeli Government had published calls for tenders to build 1257 housing units in the new Givat Hamatos settlement area in East Jerusalem. Givat Hamatos together with the settlement Har Homa would close the so-called settlement ring south of Jerusalem and thus separate East Jerusalem from Bethlehem. This would make implementing the two-state solution in line with internationally recognised parameters considerably more difficult. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 continues to apply, and the German Government calls for its full implementation.