Germany on Wednesday criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial election pledge to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.
“We are calling on the Israeli government to refrain from actions that could hamper a two-state solution,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a regular news briefing in Berlin.
He underlined that German government’s long-held position opposing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories remained unchanged.
German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr noted that Netanyahu’s comments were made during an election rally, but she also underlined that a possible annexation of parts of West Bank would be a “clear violation of international law”.
On Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu pledged that if he wins general elections slated for Sept. 17, he would annex parts of occupied lands in the West Bank -- including north of the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley.
Merkel’s government has been a strong supporter of Israel, and the chancellor repeatedly underlined Germany’s special responsibility for the security of Israel, due to the Nazi genocide of the Jews in World War II.
But she also criticized Netanyahu’s controversial policies in recent years and reaffirmed Germany’s commitment for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.
International law views West Bank, along with East Jerusalem, as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.
The Palestinians want these territories and the Gaza Strip for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.