Draft Coalition Agreement in Germany Includes Clause Critical of West Bank Settlements

The new clause says Israel's settlement policy 'contradicts international law, makes a two-state solution difficult'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Davos, Switzerland, 2018.
Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

A draft of the coalition agreement being crafted in Germany includes a clause critical of the West Bank settlements – a clause that did not appear in the agreement that formed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s previous government.

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According to the draft obtained by Haaretz, the clause outlining the new policy toward Israel declares that the “current settlement policy of Israel contradicts existing international law and does not find our support because it makes a two-state solution difficult.”

The document also states that Jerusalem’s status will be determined only in negotiations, and that Germany will work to fund UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, on top of reforms at the organization. The draft also condemns calls for violence and incitement, and explicitly supports Israel’s right to exist.

According to the clause, Germany’s governing coalition will be “committed to Germany’s special responsibility toward Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and its security. Israel’s right to exist is incontrovertible for us and a pillar of German politics. Our goal is a life for all people in the Middle East without fear and in dignity.

“Germany will continue to work for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on a two-state solution. The status of Jerusalem, as well as other final status issues, will only be clarified in the course of negotiations in order to be permanently accepted and tenable. The current settlement policy of Israel contradicts existing international law and does not find our support because it makes a two-state solution difficult.

“We will take an initiative in the EU to provide adequate and sustainable funding as well as the reform of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA). At the same time we condemn any calls for violence and agitation. The right of existence of Israel must not be called into question. We demand that actions be stopped immediately, regardless of which side that opposes a final peace solution. Democratic progress is needed at all levels in the Palestinian territories.”

Talks on forming Germany’s new government have dragged on for more than four months since the last election. Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats have negotiated a final agreement that has not yet been approved. In recent years, senior officials in the two leading parties have sharpened criticism of Israel’s policy in the Palestinian territories.