(photo credit: REUTERS)
German ambassador Andreas Michaelis will leave his post this summer after four years in Israel, to be replaced by German Foreign Ministry political director Clemens von Goetze, according to the German media.
Von Goetze’s dossier in Berlin has included the Middle East and the Arab world. He has also served, in the past, as Berlin’s envoy to the EU.
Michaelis, who has kept a very low public profile in Israel, will return to Berlin and head the ministry’s political department.
Earlier this month, on the occasion of 50 years since the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between Jerusalem and Berlin, Michaelis said in an interview with the German news agency DPA that the friendship between the two countries today is at a level “no one would have thought possible.”
Even though the first association most Israelis have with Germany is the Holocaust, this does not “contradict the fact that Germany is seen in a positive light. Israelis have never seen the Germans in as positive a way as they do today,” he said.
Israelis, he added, view Germany as “an especially reliable partner,” an “important international player” and a country actively engaged on behalf of Israel’s security.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is scheduled to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority a week from Sunday, among other things, to gauge where the sides stand on the diplomatic process.
Asked whether he could imagine Germany changing its position regarding its support for a two-state solution, Michaelis said that after being engaged in the issue for almost 30 years, there is no other “convincing option.”
“The preconditions for achieving it have not yet slipped through our fingers,” he said. “For that reason, we really should focus on bringing about a two-state solution, in spite of all the difficulties.”