Wikileaks: Merkel adviser asked US to pressure Netanyahu

According to 2009 cable, senior adviser to German Chancellor urged US to tone down opposition to UN Goldstone report to force settlement freeze.

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December 8, 2010 01:56
3 minute read.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Angela Merkel 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

BERLIN – A senior adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the US to tone down its opposition to the UN’s Goldstone Report in order to force Israel to freeze settlement construction, according to a cable from the US Embassy in Berlin published by WikiLeaks on Wednesday.

The embassy said in the November 2009 cable: “[National Security Adviser Christoph] Heusgen said that Germany ‘perceives this differently’ and thought Netanyahu needed ‘to do more’ in order bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table. With Palestinians in East Jerusalem getting notices from Israeli authorities that their houses will be destroyed, it would be ‘suicide’ for President Abbas to move under the current circumstances.

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A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy declined to comment on Heusgen’s recommendation to the chancellor.

A spokeswoman for Merkel’s administration reiterated the Foreign Ministry statement in an e-mail to the Post.

It is unclear if Merkel asked Heusgen to pressure Israel with the help of the US in an effort to get a settlement freeze.

Heusgen has previously angered Israel and has frosty relations with his Israeli counterpart, Uzi Arad. A joint Israeli-German cabinet meeting last year was almost canceled because of Heusgen’s insistence that settlement talks be a core element of the discussions.

Dr. Tilman Tarach, a German expert on Israel- German relations, told the Post on Thursday, “The position of the German government does not surprise me, as it has always been clandestinely anti-Israel. As for the settlements, some 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arab. So why shouldn’t 20% of Jews live on the territory of a future Palestinian state? The criticism of the settlement policies assumes that a future Palestinian state has to be “judenrein.”

Tarach, an attorney and author of the book The Eternal Scapegoat: Holy War, ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and the Dishonesty of the So- Called Left in the Middle East Conflict, added that “the Palestinian side in recent years had never made a cessation of settlement a condition of negotiations. Where the demands of Obama and the German government go beyond those of the Palestinians, they make it harder for the Palestinians to be prepared for negotiations. Israel has often shown that in the process of negotiations, settlements can be evacuated.”


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