Merkel Urges Israeli 'Restraint' in Judea and Samaria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Israel Friday to show "restraint" in the building of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
"We call on Israel to show restraint in the matter of settlement building," Merkel told a joint press conference with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Berlin, according to the AFP news agency.
Terming the Jewish communities "illegal", Abbas said Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria had "in fact, increased enormously."
"We ask the Israeli government to stop this activity," he told reporters through an interpreter.
Merkel reiterated Germany's support for the peace talks and a two-state solution.
"We have always advocated a two-state solution. We have always advocated aiding and supporting the Palestinian Territories, advancing the peace process, advancing economic development and I am pretty sure we will conduct our foreign policy with this continuity," she said.
"That the Palestinians have halted their attempts to join further United Nations bodies is an up-front concession for these talks, and in the same measure we have appealed to Israel to restrain itself in extending settlements," said Merkel.
"I have repeatedly said that to [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu, since we ought not to imperil this consultation process," she continues.
Abbas, meanwhile, thanked Germany for its economic support and its role in the peace process.
"We are serious in our efforts to conduct the negotiations," he said, according to AFP.
"We should seize this historic chance," he added, in a message to the Israeli government.
Israel and the PA resumed peace talks this past summer, following pressure by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who travelled to the region several times in an attempt to get the sides talking.
Abbas, who has for years demanded a state based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War, recently stated that unless Israel meets all of his preconditions, there will be no peace.
Those preconditions include a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem and a release of all PA Arab terrorists from Israeli jails.
Meanwhile, Abbas has continued to incite to terror and hatred of Israel, by honoring and glorifying terrorists who killed dozens of Israelis.
Even before the process is finished, PA officials have publicly stated on several occasions that achieving peace with Israel was impossible, blaming the Jewish state and its “occupation” of Judea and Samaria for this.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)