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Updated: July 17, 2010 17:09 IST

Germany rejects reported Israel plan to seal off Gaza

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German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. File photo: AP.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. File photo: AP.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle criticized on Saturday a reported Israeli plan that would lead to Gaza’s separation from the rest of the Palestinian territories becoming final.

“We don’t want the idea of a Palestinian state to be endangered by creating distinct territorial areas, separating or dividing them in a sense from one another, or even pitting them against one another politically,” he said in the Kazakh capital Almaty, at a conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

“In our view, that is not conducive politically for the process towards a long—term peace.” He was responding to a newspaper report that Israel’s ultra—nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is considering plans to seal off Gaza completely from Israel and leave its future entirely in the hands of the radical Islamist movement Hamas.

Mr. Westerwelle said Germany remained committed to a “two—state” peace settlement.

“We want to have a secure, protected state of Israel, but also a secure and autonomous state for Palestine,” he said.

The minister welcomed policy changes by Israel in recent weeks reducing the Gaza blockade.

“We Europeans, including us Germans, pressed very hard for the Israeli government to alter its Gaza policies and to open the Gaza Strip in line with international commitments,” he said.

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