German official denies report on possible deterioration of support for Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Credit: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs via

( A German government official denied a report by the Der Spiegel magazine claiming that Germany might stop supporting Israel unconditionally due to Chancellor Angela Merkel's unhappiness with Israel's policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Friday, Der Spiegel reported that senior politicians in the German government’s current ruling parties, the Social Democratic Party and the joint Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, said Germany is worried that Netanyahu is "instrumentalizing" Germany's friendship.
"Israel's current policies are not contributing to the country remaining Jewish and democratic," said Norbert Röttgen, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German Parliament. "We must express this concern more clearly to Israel,"  Röttgen added.

Among several examples of allegedly cooler relations between Germany and Israel, Merkel is quoted in the magazine article as having said during Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's recent visit to Berlin that she understands why "Abbas continually seeks out the [United Nations] Security Council” for resolutions relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A German official told Reuters on Sunday, however, that “the guidelines of German Middle East policy have not changed."

A senior official in Jerusalem had already denied that a chilling of Israeli-German ties is taking place, saying that the “comments in the Der Spiegel story are an attempt inside Germany to slam Merkel for her close ties with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

Posted on May 2, 2016 .