That's fine: Netanyahu and Merkel agree to disagree
Prime Minister Netanyahu and
German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to disagree
about Jewish construction in 'east' Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, including E-1.
"We agreed that we disagree on this," Merkel said at a news conference with Netanyahu in Berlin.
in Germany believe the work on a two-state solution must be continued
... we must keep trying to come to negotiations and one-sided moves
should be avoided," she added.
Prior to the conference, Netanyahu went on the offensive in the heart of Europe
on Wednesday, saying the EU was rewarding the Palestinians for tearing up the
Oslo Accords, the argument that building in E1 breaks up Palestinian territorial
contiguity is wrong, and Europeans have a history of first vilifying Jews, then
Netanyahu’s comments were made in an extensive interview
with the German Die Welt newspaper published online just before his meeting in
Berlin with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Germany, which strongly backed
Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense last month, disappointed Jerusalem by
abstaining in the UN vote last week to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to that
of non-member observer state.
Berlin, like most of Europe, then slammed
Israel for the decision to respond to the UN move by announcing plans to build
3,000 housing units in east Jerusalem and the large settlement blocs, and to
push forward planning of the E1 neighborhood linking Jerusalem to Ma’aleh
Merkel has been a frequent critic of Israel’s settlement
policies, and the chancellor was expected to warn Netanyahu of harm to Israel’s
position in Europe if he continues settlement construction.
Netanyahu and Merkel meeting met for 3 1/2 hours, two hours longer than planned. Netanyahu said after the
meeting that: "From the
conversation it is clear that Chancellor Merkel is a true friend of
Israel whose commitment to Israel's security is genuine and
unconditional. This was an open and comprehensive discussion on all the
issues in the Middle East."
The two leaders first met privately, and were then joined by their close aides.
The full Die Welt interview with Netanyahu is here
. I think he more than held his own (and I may have more of it later). But I want to point out this important story from the JPost article linked above.
related development, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed a Haaretz report that
it intervened to keep Tel Aviv University Prof. Rivka Feldhay, the director of
the university’s Minerva Humanities Center, from participating in a roundtable
discussion with Netanyahu, Merkel and nearly a dozen German and Israeli
Feldhay signed a letter in 2008 by Israeli university faculty
members expressing “appreciation and support” for students and lecturers who
“refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories.”
A source in
Netanyahu’s entourage said the prime minister was unwilling, in a meeting during
which he represents Israel, to allow the participation of someone who blackened
the name of “pilots and soldiers who do everything they can to prevent harming
civilians, while the other side does everything it can to harm
Feldhay, the wife of Mordechai Kremnitzer of the Israel
Democracy Institute, was already in Berlin when she was informed she would not
be allowed to take part. She was originally invited to attend by Israel’s
embassy in Berlin.
It's about time someone told Israel's Israeli enemies that they cannot represent the State of Israel. I hope that the Leftist-dominated Foreign Ministry is starting to get it.
Labels: Angela Merkel, anti-Israeli Israelis, Binyamin Netanyahu, E-1, East Jerusalem, Germany, Judea and Samaria construction