Germany, France call for 2 states at 67-line, prior to Biden presidency

Jordan, Egypt, France, Germany denounce Jewish building over green line.

US President-elect Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: ANDREW HARNIK/YOAV DUDUKEVITCH/REUTERS)
US President-elect Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The United States has an important role to play in relaunching an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that would create a two-state resolution to the conflict at the pre-1967 lines, the Munich Group said in advance of US President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20.
The Munich Group — composed of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Germany and France — met Monday in Cairo.
In a statement put out after the meeting the group "emphasized their commitment to a negotiated two-state solution, ensuring an independent and viable Palestinian state based on June 4, 1967, lines and UN Security Council resolutions, living side by side a secure and recognized Israel."
It also "emphasized the role of the United States in this context" and "expressed willingness to work with the United States towards facilitating negotiations leading to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region, based on the internationally-recognized parameters, and re-launching a credible peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis."
It spoke out as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem announced he would advance plans for 800 new West Bank settler homes, including the legalization of an outpost.
In Cairo, the foreign ministers called on Israel to "completely cease all settlement activities including in east Jerusalem."  They also urged Israel to maintain the "legal status quo of the Holy sites in Jerusalem" and "recalled the importance of the historic Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem’s Holy sites."
The Munich Group spoke out as Israel has thrown its support behind US President Donald Trump’s peace plan for two states which allowed Israel to retain 30% of the West Bank, including the settlements.
Biden is expected to adopt a no-tolerance policy toward settlement activity, making this issue one of Israel’s expected tension points with Washington.
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry charged that in the last days of the Trump administration Netanyahu was attempting to cement Israel’s hold on Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civilian control.
“The occupation government is in a race against time to carry out its colonizing projects to annex and Israelize Area C before the end of Trump’s term,” the PA Foreign Ministry said.
It charged that Israel wanted to thwart the creation of a Palestinian state by “expanding the settlements and the arbitrary settler outposts” and “stealing more Palestinian lands.” This, the PA Foreign Ministry said, would “completely close the door to any chance to establish an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
Within Israel, Netanyahu was pilloried by politicians in the Center and Left, as well as on the Right which felt the prime minister had not done enough for the settlements.
“This is an irresponsible step,” Yesh Atid Party head Yair Lapid charged, as he warned that Netanyahu was creating unnecessary tensions with Biden even before he entered the White House.
“The Biden administration has not yet taken office and the government is already leading us into an unnecessary confrontation,” Lapid said.
“The national interest must also be maintained during elections. A sane government does not start an unnecessary battle with a new American president,” he added.
The left-wing group Peace Now said that Netanyahu’s announcement sent a signal to the Biden administration that “Israel wants a confrontation.”
No date has been set for the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria to convene, but settlers expect that it will meet next week.
“Netanyahu, today (Monday), authorized that the construction of hundreds of housing units in Judea and Samaria be advanced,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement it issued on the matter.
Among the plans would be 100 new homes for the Tal Menashe settlement, where terror victim Esther Horgan had lived before she was killed while jogging in a forest near the community last month.
In addition, the PMO said that some 200 units would be for the Rehelim settlement and the outpost of Nofei Nehemia.
Rehelim is the home of Tura Winery, which just exported its first consignment of olive oil to the United Arab Emirates this week. Advancement of plans for Nofei Nehemia will help legalize the outpost. Plans would also be advanced for homes in the settlements of Beit El, Itamar, Shavei Shomron, Oranit, Karnei Shomron and Givat Ze’ev as well as for structures in the Barkan Industrial Park.
But the Right was far more concerned with Netanyahu’s failure to convene the government so that his ministers could issue a declaration of intent to legalize some 46 West Bank outposts.
Yamina Party head MK Naftali Bennett pledged to authorize the West Bank outposts should he be chosen prime minister in the March elections.
“Netanyahu, authorize the young settlements [outposts] now in these coming 10 days. If you don’t do it, when I am the prime minister, I will do it,” Bennett said.
He spoke during a visit to the protest encampment settlers and right-wing politicians set up outside the PMO.
Coalition Chairman Miki Zohar (Likud) also visited the encampment as did Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Gantz, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan and Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shalom Ne’eman. Some eight settlers, including Yesha Council CEO Yigal Dilmoni, are conducting a hunger strike.
New Hope Party head Gideon Sa’ar sent Netanyahu a letter urging authorization of the outposts.
“For more than twenty years, the Israeli government has not completed the regulation procedures for dozens of communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley. I call on you to rise above the disputes and regulate the status of these communities once and for all,” Sa’ar wrote.
Settlers and the Right became even more incensed when they discovered that the Higher Planning Council is set to convene Sunday to advance plans for Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank. It’s a move which flies in the face of the right-wing battle to ensure that all of Area C would eventually become part of sovereign Israel. The Trump plan only promised Israel half of Area C and envisioned that the rest would become part of a future Palestinian state.
The right-wing NGO Regavim stated that “under consideration is illegal [Palestinian] construction in nature reserves, construction on state lands designated for Israeli communities, as well as a series of illegal schools which the Palestinian Authority classifies as “confrontation schools in the fight against settlements.”
The projects, it stated, “cover some 500 dunams (50 hectares) and hundreds of illegal structures, among them an illegal school built in the Nahal Makoch Nature Reserve in eastern Binyamin, an illegal village in northern Samaria dubbed ‘Daher al-Malek,’ built on state land slated for the growth of the Jewish community of Shaked.” It added that the projects under debate also included “extensive illegal construction in the village of Walaja adjacent to the Gush Etzion Tunnel Road, illegal projects in the village of Kisan in eastern Gush Etzion, and more.”
MK Bezalel Smotrich, who is heading a new religious Zionist party, said that the citizens of Israel, “deserve a different leadership” and a “real right-wing government” that will not turn a blind eye to years of “a hostile [Palestinian] takeover of its territories.”
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.