German president may meet with anti-IDF groups on first Israel trip

 

(JNS.org) German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has indicated he will make “no promises” regarding the possibility of meeting with anti-IDF organizations operating in Israel ahead of scheduled talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Credit: Mueller/MSC via Wikimedia Commons.

Steinmeier, who previously served as Germany’s foreign minister, arrives in Israel Sunday for his first visit to the Jewish state as president.

The German president’s ambiguous comments came after Israel sought assurances from Germany following a diplomatic spat between the two nations, instigated by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s recent meetings with nonprofit organizations that campaign against Israel’s military and its policy in the disputed territories.

Gabriel had met with B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence despite Netanyahu’s request not to do so, causing the prime minister to cancel his meeting with the foreign minister. 

Several days after the meeting’s cancellation, the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Germany escalated when Gabriel wrote an op-ed, published in Germany’s Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, grouping together Jews and members of Germany’s Social Democratic Party as victims of the Holocaust. 

During his upcoming visit, Steinmeier will also meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and deliver a speech at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Since the schedule of Steinmeier’s visit is not yet finalized, Israeli officials remain concerned about the possibility of last-minute meetings with the anti-IDF groups, reported Yedioth Ahronoth.

Posted on May 4, 2017 .