Foreign Policy Shift: Skepticism of German-Israeli Friendship Growing in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Photo: File)

By now, Angela Merkel is used to it. Whenever she meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the confidential content of their discussion appears in an Israeli newspaper a few days later.

But the story that appeared in Israel Hayom, a free, pro-Netanyahu newspaper on Feb. 16 surprised even the German chancellor. “Merkel: This Isn’t the Time for Two States,” was the headline. That was the chancellor’s message to Netanyahu, the paper claimed, during the German-Israeli government consultations that had just taken place in Berlin.

Merkel’s advisors were furious. The Israeli premier had apparently twisted her words to such a degree that it seemed as though she were supporting his policies. In fact, though, Merkel had repeatedly made it clear to Netanyahu that she believes the effects of Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories are disastrous. The settlement policy, she believes, makes it unlikely that a viable Palestinian state can be established in accordance with plans aimed at a two-state solution. Any other approach, Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are convinced, would ultimately transform Israel into an apartheid regime. Netanyahu, however, has not shown himself to be the least bit impressed by such arguments.

The Israeli prime minister has always been able to depend on Berlin ultimately standing together with Israel and not joining the country’s most vocal critics. But many, particularly in the Berlin Foreign Ministry, have begun wondering if Germany sent the wrong signals in the past. An example that is frequently mentioned is Chancellor Merkel’s speech in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in 2008 when she said that Israeli security is part of Germany’s “raison d’état.”

“The perception has been growing in the German government that Netanyahu is instrumentalizing our friendship,” says Rolf Mützenich, deputy floor leader for the Social Democrats (SPD) in parliament. The SPD is Merkel’s junior coalition partner and Foreign Minister Steinmeier is a leading member of the party. Mützenich says it would be a welcome change if the Foreign Ministry and the Chancellery were to rethink the relationship with Israel.

– Read more: Foreign Policy Shift: Skepticism of German-Israeli Friendship Growing in Berlin – Ralf Neukirch and Christoph Schult, Spiegel

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  1. Germany, besides US taxpayers, has paid dearly to Israel and is still paying financially for “accountability” since the end of WWII, and it was terribly difficult after the war, as the country was devastated by destruction and from the deaths of over 4 million people, of which 3.5 million were military.
    I’m not siding with the Nazis, but neither is the Germany of today, yet their moral ethics dictate that they pay for the calamity caused by the forefathers and Hitler.
    Netanyahu is certain he has Germany forever in a noose because of WWII.
    As of 2012, Germany has paid $89 billion to Israel since 1952. They demanded a further €450 million to €1 billion in reparations from Germany.

  2. I’m impressed, if not proud, with Angela Merkel, because standing up to self-righteous bloodsucking indiscriminate murderous parasite Israel while maintaining foreign policy and diplomacy is certainly no walk in the park when she has to deal with a thug like Netanyahu on a regular basis!

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