German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats sealed a deal Wednesday on a new coalition, reports said, based on an agreement that for the first time includes explicit criticism of "Israeli" settlements.
"‘Israel's' current settlement policy contradicts applicable international law and is not supported by us because it impedes a two-state solution," the treaty reads.
Merkel's center-right CDU/CSU faction and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel's Social Democrats agreed on the coalition treaty on Wednesday morning, reports said. It is expected to be signed in the coming days, after the members of the Social Democratic Party vote on it.
Previous coalition treaties between the two parties have included an endorsement of the so-called two-state solution, but stopped short of condemning the settlements.
The text agreed upon Wednesday also for the first time takes a position against recognizing al-Quds [Jerusalem] as the "Israeli" entity's so-called capital before a final-status peace agreement with the Palestinians has been reached. Also unprecedented is its pledge to support UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinians refugees, and a call for "democratic progress" in the Palestinian territories.
The passages were likely written in response to recent moves by the US administration. On December 6, Washington recognized al-Quds as the "Israeli" entity's so-called capital, and in response to vehement opposition from Ramallah threatened to cut or withhold funding to the Palestinians.
However, the new German coalition agreement also reiterates Berlin's commitment to the entity's security.
The "Israeli"-Palestinian section of 2013's coalition agreement was decidedly less detailed. Besides the commitment to the entity's security, it stated that Germany has a "significant interest in peace and stability" in the Middle East. "Our goal is a ‘two-state' solution" with "Israel" "within recognized and permanently secure frontiers as well as an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security."
Opposition to "Israeli" settlements is consensus in German politics.
Gabriel is likely to be replaced as foreign minister by the Social Democrats' failed candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team