German party’s petition to recognize Palestinian state ‘won’t pass’

Motion not in line with Berlin’s position, says Israeli Embassy official.

March 25, 2015 21:46
3 minute read.

German flag flutters half-mast on top of the Reichstag building, the seat of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, March 25. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Israeli spokeswoman in Berlin told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that a resolution submitted last week by Bundestag deputies from the Left Party – the largest opposition party in the parliament – calling on the Merkel administration to recognize an independent Palestinian state with full membership in the UN would, it is assumed, not pass.

“The motion was initiated by one group of the Left Party, and it is not in line with the official position of the German government toward this subject,” she said.

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“This motion is known to us, and we tried to dissuade this initiative, which was submitted the morning of Election Day in Israel,” she added. “This motion should be up for discussion in the Bundestag, but a concrete date hasn’t yet been set. It is assumed that the motion won’t pass.”

The Left Party’s motion was submitted on March 18, and it is unclear if Bundestag deputies plan to vote on the petition.

The petition’s text cites that Sweden’s government recognized an independent Palestinian state as the first EU member in October 2014. The petition also notes that parliamentary votes in Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom resulted in recognition of a Palestinian state.

The petition was initiated by a number of deputies who have expressed favorable views or undertaken actions in support of Hezbollah and Hamas. Deputy Christine Buchholz was a member of the party’s “Shift to the Left” faction, which supports the “legitimate resistance” of Hamas and Hezbollah in their attacks on Israel.

The Left Party’s foreign policy spokesman and deputy, Wolfgang Gehrcke, who also signed the petition, has attended pro- Hamas and pro-Hezbollah rallies in Germany during Israel’s conflicts with Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in 2008/2009.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center included deputies Annette Groth, Heike Hänsel and Inge Höger, who supported the motion, on the its 2014 top-ten list of outbreaks of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.

According to the center, “on November 10 the Left Party invited notorious Israel-bashers… in the party’s meeting room in the Bundestag, the day after commemoration of the anniversary of Kristallnacht – the 1938 pogrom when the Nazis burned Jewish synagogues across Germany.”

Groth, Hänsel, Höger and Left Party Executive Board member Claudia Haydt were the main organizers and participants of the anti-Israel event.

The center noted that there are “ongoing efforts to demonize Israel by a group of extreme anti-Israel deputies, led by Höger and Groth. Both of these parliamentarians were on board the controversial 2010 Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla and upon their return to Berlin were hailed by many of their party’s MPs.”

Volker Beck, a top Green Party deputy and head of the German-Israeli parliamentary group in the Bundestag, wrote the Post: “I am for the implementation of the two-state perspective, which includes the mutual recognition of the states Israel and Palestine.”

He said the Green Party is working for a coordinated European Union approach to build a sustainable Palestinian state.

Beck added that the questions involved in a Palestinian state “must be dealt with at the negotiating table.”

In an email comment to the Post on Wednesday, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, wrote that “Germany is exposed to the distortions and propaganda, including from anti-Israel NGOs, that are dominant in most of Western Europe. And the Die Linke [The Left] party is attempting to exploit this process.”

Steinberg, a distinguished political scientist at Bar-Ilan University, added: “At the same time, the German voices that, in the past, attacked this type of cynical promotion of the Palestinian agenda, in the CDU [Christian Democratic Union] and SPD [Social Democratic Party], are weak and largely silent. Instead of recognizing the complex realities, much of the German discourse on Israel is based on myths and slogans.”

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