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Germany Condemns New Israeli Settlement Plans In Occupied West Bank

23.02.2024 19:57

Building settlements in West Bank 'contrary to international law and this also applies when new construction projects are carried out,” says Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Germany on Friday condemned Israeli plans to construct thousands of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.

"You know our position on settlement construction. It is contrary to international law and this also applies when new construction projects are carried out," deputy Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Kathrin Deschauer told a news conference in Berlin.

Israel will advance plans for the construction of more than 3,000 settlement homes in response to a deadly terror attack in the West Bank, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced late Thursday night.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has repeatedly criticized Israel's policy of constructing and expanding illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territories.

"The construction of settlements is illegal. It undermines lasting peace and endangers the two-state solution and thereby endangers Israel's security," Baerbock told reporters during last month's visit to a village in the West Bank.

"Palestinians must be able to live in security, dignity and self-determination, in their own land," she added.

She reiterated that a lasting peace can only be achieved by a two-state solution, which would enable a secure Israel and an independent, democratic Palestinian state to exist peacefully side by side.

Amid attacks, settlements growing

Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank reached a record high during the first year under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's latest government, according to a report by an Israeli leftist non-governmental organization.

Since the outbreak of the war on Gaza last Oct. 7, the number of settlements has risen, said Peace Now in a statement.

The group said the formation of the Netanyahu government in December 2022 created "unprecedented conditions for the expansion of settlements."

"In 2023, settlers established at least 26 new illegal outposts, with at least ten of them established during the war since Oct. 7, 2023 and at least 18 of them being agricultural farms," it added.

The statement also highlighted the alarming trend of forced displacement, saying that "in direct relation to the establishment of outposts, approximately 1,345 Palestinians were forced to flee from their homes due to violent attacks by settlers."

"Twenty-one Palestinian communities were displaced and uprooted, 16 of them during the war since Oct. 7, and 5 communities prior to that," it elaborated.

Additionally, the statement said: "In 2023, the Israeli government promoted plans for the construction of 12,349 housing units in settlements in the West Bank."

In 2023, "15 illegal outposts underwent the process of legalization," it said.

Estimates indicate about 700,000 Israeli settlers live in roughly 300 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

All Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal under international law.

Tensions have been running high across the West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip following an Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

At least 394 Palestinians have since been killed and 4,400 others injured by Israeli army fire in the occupied territory, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice over its deadly onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 28,500 people dead.

In an interim ruling in January, the Hague-based court ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. -

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