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Germany’s Baerbock slams Israel’s settlement expansion plans, human rights violations

June 25, 2024 at 7:45 pm

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock listens during press conference on November 4, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan [Aziz Karimov/Getty Images]

German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, sharply criticised the Israeli coalition government on Tuesday over its settlement expansion plans and human rights violations against Palestinians, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Parts of the Israeli government coalition are flaring up tensions with pursuing an aggressive settlement policy, and they are endangering Israel’s security interests in the long term,” Baerbock told reporters in Jerusalem after concluding her visit to Israel.

“Increasing settler violence is spreading fear and horror in the West Bank, and digging ever deeper trenches of hatred. If more settler outposts are now legalised, this will be contrary to international law, and also an irresponsible move in terms of security policy,” she stressed.

Baerbock’s comments were one of her strongest criticisms yet of Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, reflecting the growing frustration in the West, as Israel’s far-right ministers blocked recent ceasefire efforts, and threatened to establish new settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Reiterating Germany’s strong support to the Gaza truce proposal presented by US President Joe Biden, Baerbock said it is the “only realistic option” to find a way out of the current deadlock, which can enable the freeing of the hostages and delivering humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians.

The Foreign Minister also criticised human rights violations against Palestinians, and reminded Israeli authorities of their obligations under international humanitarian law.

“Israel’s strength lies in its liberal democracy. The shocking reports of cruel detention conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli camps and prisons do not match Israel’s own claim to be a democracy and constitutional state,” Baerbock said, adding that she raised this issue during talks with her Israeli counterparts.

“Also the images from the Israeli army’s deployment in Jenin (refugee camp) are disturbing and contradict the principles of international humanitarian law. They must be swiftly and comprehensively investigated,” she added.

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