Merkel Urges Netanyahu to Resume Talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says considering the current situation in the Arab world, restarting the Middle East talks has become “more pressing than ever.”
She told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in Berlin it is necessary that Israel should reconsider resuming the long-stalled talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Press TV correspondent in Berlin reported.
The latest round of direct talks between Israeli and PA negotiators was derailed by Tel Aviv’s refusal to extend a temporary, partial freeze on its West Bank settlement projects after the moratorium expired last September.
Especially, as the political landscape in the region is changing rapidly, progress was more urgent than ever, Merkel said. The outcome of revolutions in the Arab world was far from certain, she added.
Netanyahu voiced concern about the ultimate repercussions of Arab revolutions for Israel’s future.
Israel is also worried that Germany, together with Britain and France, might push for a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.
Netanyahu said the ongoing settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory should not be seen as an insurmountable obstacle. But he gave no indication that Tel Aviv may want to heed international calls and halt settlement construction.
The International Court of Justice and the international community have, on several occasions, said that these settlements are illegal, and not a single government supports them.
Netanyahu is also believed to have asked Merkel to sell Israel a sixth dolphin class submarine, capable of firing nuclear missiles, at a discount price.
The meeting took place as the Middle East Quartet — which comprises of Russia, European Union, the UN and the US — is scheduled to meet in Berlin next week.