The German parliament passed a resolution yesterday urging the government in Berlin to use its close ties with Israel to prevent Tel Aviv from annexing large swaths of the occupied West Bank.
The non-binding motion was brought in the parliament by the three parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s broad coalition and was approved without opposing votes.
The resolution calls for Berlin to use its “special relations and contacts [to Tel Aviv] to express to the Israeli government our concerns and our urgent demand to refrain from the annexation of parts of the West Bank and from the continued expansion of settlements, both of which contradict international law.”
All parliamentary groups, aside from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, warned that Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank would jeopardise Israel’s security and hopes of a two-state solution.
“We reject unilateral changes of borders, and we won’t recognise them,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in the parliamentary debate that preceded the vote. “Now it’s about creating space for diplomacy.”
Israel was due to begin annexing settlements in the occupied West Bank yesterday, however, uncertainty surrounds Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position in light of widespread international rejection of the plan along with differences with the US administration on its application.
Peace between Israelis and Palestinians “cannot be achieved through unilateral steps but only through serious negotiations,” Maas added.
Maas called on Israel to reconsider such plans, saying it was still possible to use “the opportunity and the time window” before a likely annexation.
The German foreign minister has vowed to put the issue on top of the agenda after it assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), as well as chairing the month-long UN Security Council, which means that it will be active in navigating the EU’s response to Israel’s planned annexation.