According to ‘Der Spiegel’, coalition member reveals how Berlin has grown frustrated with Israel’s PM, who is perceived as opposed to a 2-state solution.
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Germany is beginning to re-examine its longstanding policy of near-automatic support for Israel in light of what it perceives as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s disinclination to move toward a two-state solution to the Palestine question.
The reassessment has been triggered by the realization among officials in Berlin that as long as Netanyahu is in power, Israel has no intention of creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank, thus ushering in an era of “apartheid” – according to Der Spiegel.
“The perception has been growing in the German government that Netanyahu is instrumentalizing our friendship,” Rolf Mützenich, a top official with the Social Democratic Party (SPD), a key member of Angela Merkel’s coalition, is quoted as saying by Der Spiegel.
The German chancellor was also incensed by Netanyahu after reports appeared in the Israeli press to the effect that during the premier’s recent trip to Berlin, she had endorsed his position that now was not the time to discuss a two-state solution.
According to the German report, Merkel and her aides believe that Netanyahu deliberately distorted her statements – which were not meant for public consumption – in order to further the premier’s domestic political agenda.
Initial indications of a sea change in German thinking were evident earlier this year when Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier ignored Netanyahu’s request to oppose a resolution by the European Union criticizing Israel’s policy of building in the settlements.
“Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible,” the resolution, which was adopted by Brussels, read.
Steinmeier broke with tradition and threw his support behind the draft despite a phone call from Netanyahu urging him to do the opposite.
Der Spiegel also reported that Merkel expressed sympathy for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his recent visit to the German capital.
“I understand why President Abbas continually seeks out the Security Council,” the chancellor is quoted as saying by Der Spiegel.
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