Germany slams settlement bill that legalizes outposts

The condemnation from Berlin came a day after US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner slammed the bill at his daily briefing.

December 7, 2016 23:33
1 minute read.
THE AMONA OUTPOST is seen in the Binyamin region of the West Bank

THE AMONA OUTPOST is seen in the Binyamin region of the West Bank. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Germany issued a harsh condemnation on Wednesday of the settlement regulation bill that would retroactively legalize unauthorized outposts, saying if the legislation passes it would undermine confidence in Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.

The spokesman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that “Israeli governments, and also Prime Minister Netanyahu, have repeatedly committed themselves to evacuating outposts that even from their perspective are considered illegal.”

The purpose of the bill, the spokesman said, is to retroactively legalize the outposts even if they were built on private Palestinian land. “This development is very worrisome to us,” he said. Watch the UN debate: Are West Bank settlements a stumbling block to peace?

The spokesman said that Berlin hopes that the measure in its current form will not pass the Knesset, and noted that the widespread consensus is that the bill runs counter to international law, “which is also the opinion of Israel’s attorney-general.”

Germany is widely considered Israel’s staunchest supporter in Western Europe.

The condemnation from Berlin came a day after US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner slammed the bill at his daily briefing, saying the US is “very concerned about the advancement of this legislation.”

According to Toner, “enacting this law would be profoundly damaging to the prospects for a two-state solution.”

He also said that the administration has “been troubled by comments that we’ve heard by some political figures in Israel that this would be the first step in annexing parts of the West Bank.”

Toner said that “the more you create the realities on the ground that would prohibit a two-state solution, then the harder it’s going to be to get to that twostate solution.”

The German spokesman also addressed the internal Israeli political debate, saying “we were amazed at declarations made by some Israeli government members during the discussion” about the proposed law.

On Monday, the day the bill passed its preliminary reading, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, “This is a historic day in the Knesset, which went from establishing a Palestinian state to Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. Have no doubt: The settlement bill is leading the way to annexation.”

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