Germany Criticizes Israel’s Building Plans for Eastern Yerushalayim

BERLIN (Reuters) -

Germany on Thursday strongly criticized Israel’s plans to push ahead with the building of hundreds of new homes in eastern Yerushalayim, saying it would undermine efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved the marketing of land for the construction of 454 homes, mostly in Ramat Shlomo, on Tuesday.

The United States has also harshly criticized the decision.

In unusually strong language, Germany, which is considered a close ally of Israel, said Netanyahu’s plans ran counter to peace efforts.

“The plans of the Israeli government to press ahead with the building in Ramat Shlomo undermine efforts to achieve a peaceful solution of the Middle East conflict,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

“Against the backdrop of continued tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, all steps that could lead to an escalation should be avoided,” she said.