Berlin calls on Israel to stop settlement expansion
Germany called on Israel Wednesday to stop building 2,000 settler homes in east Jerusalem immediately and return to peace talks, warning unilateral action could result in a "dangerous spiral".
Building settlements in occupied areas "hinders the goal we all must have of a two-state solution and is unjustifiable," Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, told a regular news conference.
"We call on the Israeli government to stop all settlement building activity without delay," Seibert said, adding Berlin was "concerned" at the recent developments.
Those that take unilateral action such as this "risk causing a further escalation of the conflict," he added.
"We call on both parties, the Israelis and the Palestinians, to refrain from this dangerous spiral of unilateral measures and finally put negotiations firmly back in the middle of their relationship," he said.
Israel on Tuesday said it would build 2,000 settler homes and freeze the transfer of Palestinian tax monies to punish them for successfully joining UNESCO, drawing an angry response from Ramallah.
© 2011 AFP