Germany doubts Israel is serious about the two-state solution

Germany expresses doubts on whether Israel is committed to the two-state solution after its approval of new construction.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Flag of Germany
Flag of Germany

Germany on Wednesday expressed doubts on whether Israel remains committed to reaching a two-state solution after it approved the construction of 2,500 new homes in Judea and Samaria.

Tuesday’s announcement by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman followed the approval earlier this week of 566 new housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramat Shlomo, Ramot and Pisgat Ze'ev.

“In its scale and political impact it goes beyond anything we have seen in recent months," German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a media briefing on Wednesday.

This, and pledges to continue construction in the future, "lead us to doubt whether the Israeli government remains committed, as it has repeatedly stated, to a two-state solution,” added Schaefer.

Until now Germany had merely asserted that Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem are an obstacle to the peace process, without questioning Israel's willingness to reach an eventual peace deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Germany is considered a close friend of Israel, but there have been tensions in recent years over the peace issue, as Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted that the “two-state solution” is the best way to end the Israel-PA conflict.

At a Government-to-Government meeting in Berlin in December 2012, Merkel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to disagree” over Israeli construction in areas the PA claims for a future state.

Germany’s comments follow condemnations of Israel’s announcement by both the United Nations and the European Union.

In contrast, White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Tuesday declined to express a position on Israeli construction when asked about it in his daily press briefing.

The White House’s failure to comment on the construction raised the ire of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, who on Wednesday said he was "shocked" by the White House's silence and called on President Donald Trump's administration to clarify its policy.

AFP contributed to this report.