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Netanyahu to German official: West Bank cannot be ‘Judenrein’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly used the Nazi term "Judenrein" in a meeting with the German foreign minister while discussing the possible removal of West Bank settlements.

Reuters quoted a "confidant" of Netanyahu saying that the Israeli prime minister told Frank-Walter Steinmeier earlier this week that "Judea and Samaria" — the West Bank — "cannot be Judenrein." The term was used by Nazis to refer to areas "cleansed of Jews."

Asked by Reuters how Steinmeier reacted to the term, the confidant said, "What could he do? He basically just nodded."

The source said Netanyahu had been encouraging others in the Cabinet to use the word in defending settlements.

Meanwhile, Steinmeier said Friday that settlements remain an obstacle to peace.

"A solution has to be found," Steinmeier said, "but a solution will not be found as long as the settlements continue to be expanded," according to media reports.

Steinmeier said chances for a peace deal are the best in 15 years, saying that a "historic window" was open but that states could not hold back for "tactical reasons."

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