Germany cancels meeting with Israel over new settlement law

Published February 14th, 2017 - 11:00 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on February 12, 2017. (AFP/Gali Tibbon)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on February 12, 2017. (AFP/Gali Tibbon)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled a meeting with the Israeli government, a government spokesman said in Berlin on Monday.

Both sides agreed to hold the next round of German-Israeli government-level talks in the new year, the spokesman said, giving the reason as "the variety of international appointments within the context of the German presidency of the G20."

While the official response was that the meeting planned for May 10 in Jerusalem had to be cancelled due to elections in September, another reason was Merkel's dissatisfaction with the Israeli settlement legalization law passed earlier this month, Haaretz reported, citing anonymous German and Israeli sources.

Since 2008, German chancellors and Israeli premiers, as well as their senior officials, have met nearly annually in either Jerusalem or Berlin for a summit to underscore their countries' close relationship.

The law, which prompted condemnation from several countries and international organizations, stipulates that settlements found to be illegally built on Palestinian-owned land will not be removed.

A petition against the law has already been filed with the Israeli Supreme Court, which is widely expected to strike it down.

"The confidence we had in the Israeli government's commitment to the two-state solution has been profoundly shaken," said the German Foreign Ministry in a statement released after the law was passed.

The cancellation of the summit is one of several ways Germany plans to express its displeasure with the law and Israeli settlement activity using diplomatic and public channels, reported Haaretz.

By Miranda Lee Murray

© 2021 dpa GmbH

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