German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arrived in Israel on Sunday on the last official visit of her term, became embroiled in the Palestinian issue with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Merkel was accorded a warm welcome upon her arrival in Israel, but differences also emerged over the issue of Iran’s nuclear program and the creation of a Palestinian state. While Merkel insisted on the establishment of a Palestinian state, PM Bennett opposed it from the same platform.
Differences emerged on Iran and Palestine issue
Merkel said Germany was committed to reviving the international nuclear deal with Iran, which Israel opposed. He also said that Germany believes the two-state principle is the best solution to ending Israel’s decades-long conflict with Palestine. Merkel also said that settling Israeli settlements on occupied land claimed by the Palestinians would not prove helpful.
Merkel insists on the establishment of a Palestinian state
In a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Merkel said that personally at this time, I believe that even though there is almost an atmosphere of hopelessness in the current environment, the two-state solution should not be separated from the negotiating table, It should not be buried.. and Palestinians should be able to live safely in one state.
Bennett said – it is like establishing a terrorist state
Bennett, who allegedly played a role in the settlement of illegal settlements, opposed the establishment of a Palestinian state and responded promptly. “Our experience is that the establishment of a state of Palestine would mean the establishment of a terrorist state just seven minutes away from my home and near any center in Israel,” he said. Describing himself as a pragmatist, Prime Minister Bennett emphasized that he is prepared to take steps to improve the living standards of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Israel-Germany ties strengthened during Merkel’s tenure
Palestine is one of the few issues Germany and Israel have disagreed on during Merkel’s two-day visit, while Merkel’s 16-year tenure was marked by Germany’s unwavering support for Israel. The two leaders are expected to focus on Iran’s nuclear program and have vowed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, both the leaders have different opinion about its method.
Germany also involved in nuclear deal with Iran
Germany played a key role with Iran in the 2015 international nuclear deal with world powers, also known as the JCPOA. Merkel said that I never considered the JCPOA to be ideal but it is better than no agreement. He said the situation is very serious as Iran continues to enrich uranium. Merkel called on the powers involved in the deal, including Russia and China, to discuss the issue. Bennett, on the other hand, said there was no point appeasing Iranians. They are taking reconciliation as a weakness.