The official reason given for the cancellation is the election in Germany, but German and Israeli sources say the real reason was Berlin’s anger at Israel’s expropriation law.
Barak Ravid Feb 13, 2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to cancel a joint summit with Israel’s government, scheduled for May 10 in Jerusalem. The official reason her office gave the Prime Minister’s Office for the cancelation in the planned visit by Merkel and top officials was the German elections in September. But German and Israeli sources say there was another reason, albeit not the main one – her dissatisfaction at the Israel’s new law to expropriate private Palestinian lands, enacted in Knesset last week.
An Israeli source who was in contact with the German Foreign Ministry and the chancellor’s office last week reported hearing massive anger over the law. The Israeli source, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, said he had heard from German officials that in response to the law’s enactment, the German government had launched a number of initiatives, both publically and in diplomatic channels, to express its dismay at the legislation.
According to the source, one of those responses had to do with the Netanyahu-Merkel summit. Merkel’s initiated the summit between the German and Israeli government during Ehud Olmert’s term as prime minister. Since then they have been held almost annually, alternating between Berlin and Jerusalem, and including a meeting between the two premiers and between the ministers of the two governments, as well as a joint cabinet session. The purpose of the summits is to highlight the close relations between the two countries.
A few days before the Knesset passed the so-called “Regularization Law,” the chancellor’s office confirmed the date for the Jerusalem summit for May 10 and 11. But only a few days after the law passed, Merkel’s national security adviser, Kristof Heusgen, contacted Netanyahu’s office again and informed them that the chancellor had decided to postpone the summit, due to preparations for the elections in Germany.
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