Settlements undermine two-state solution: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday she was concerned about Israel’s building in settlements in the occupied West Bank, which she said was undermining progress toward a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel is building in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem — seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and occupied for nearly 50 years — where Palestinians want to establish their state and capital.

“As before, I see no reasonable alternative to the goal of a two-state solution,” Merkel told reporters before holding talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Berlin.

“Both the Israeli and the Palestinian people have the right to live in peace and security and none of the other options can deliver that credibly,” she said.

Merkel’s comments jar with past remarks by US President Donald Trump, who has expressed some ambivalence about a two-state solution. Trump has, though, recently invited Abbas to visit.

The German chancellor said the building in settlements posed “an impediment to the resolution of the conflict.”

“I am very concerned about developments in the West Bank, which are leading to an erosion of the basis for a two-state solution,” Merkel said.

A meeting between the governments of Germany and Israel that was scheduled to take place in May has been canceled amid rising frustration in Berlin with settlement activity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Meanwhile, the Arab League has stressed its Secretary-General Ahmad Abu Al-Ghait’s vision based on the Palestinian stance supporting the two-state solution and establishment of the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in addition to the Arab Peace Initiative.

Most countries consider Israeli settlements to be illegal. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen since 2014 and settlements are one of the most heated issues.


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