Germany condemns Israeli plan to legalize 5 settlements in West Bank

Germany condemns Israeli plan to legalize 5 settlements in West Bank

‘Expansion of settlements endangers peace and security of all people in the region,’ says Foreign Ministry

By Oliver Towfigh Nia

BERLIN (AA) - Germany on Friday condemned Israeli plans to legalize five settlements in the occupied West Bank, urging Tel Aviv to overturn its controversial decision.

“The federal government clearly condemns the so-called legalization of Israeli outposts and the approval of new housing. Israel's policy of building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories constitutes a serious violation of international law and undermines efforts to achieve a two-state solution,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Sebastian Fischer said at a news conference in Berlin.

“The expansion of settlements endangers the peace and security of all people in the region and we therefore call on the Israeli government to immediately reverse the decisions…,” he added.

On Thursday, the Israeli Cabinet approved steps proposed by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich aimed at "legalizing" settlement outposts in the West Bank and imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority.

Israel's official broadcasting authority KAN reported on Friday that the Security Cabinet approved Smotrich's plan to counter Palestinian statehood recognition and actions against Israel in international courts.

The plan includes measures against the Palestinian Authority, the legalization of five settlement outposts in the West Bank, and the issuance of tenders for thousands of new housing units in settlements.

Additionally, the plan involves revoking permits and benefits for Palestinian officials, restricting their movement, and preventing senior officials from leaving the country.

Furthermore, it includes measures such as removing executive powers from the Palestinian Authority in the southern West Bank, enforcing laws against unauthorized construction, and protecting heritage sites and environmental areas.

The areas designated as “Area B” in the West Bank fall under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control.

Smotrich’s proposal specifically addresses the recognition and regularization of five settlement outposts in response to the five countries officially recognizing Palestine as a state after Oct. 7.

Spain, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, and Armenia have all made official declarations recognizing the state of Palestine, particularly in the aftermath of the destructive Israeli war on Gaza that has been ongoing since last October.

Settlement outposts are small communities established by illegal Israeli settlers on privately owned Palestinian land without approval from the Israeli government.

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