German parliament honors Israel's 60 years

German FM alludes to Shoah: "From responsibility for the past grows commitment to the future."

Steinmeier 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Steinmeier 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Germany's parliament on Thursday marked Israel's 60th anniversary, with the country's foreign minister underlining his country's commitment to the Jewish state and to Middle East peace efforts. Germany has proven a staunch ally of Israel and often has stressed the historical responsibility for the country that stems from the Holocaust. "From the responsibility for the past grows the commitment for the future," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a speech in Berlin's restored Reichstag building. He also underlined Germany's desire to do more to help advance efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. The minister plans a four-day trip to Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories starting this weekend - a trip that comes ahead of a June 24 conference in Berlin expected to focus on the Palestinian police and justice systems. Steinmeier said that, beyond diplomatic efforts, more concrete measures are needed to "show people in the region that the path to peace is worth it." Chancellor Angela Merkel attended Thursday's debate, but did not address the legislature. In March, Merkel visited Israel and became the first German head of government to address the Knesset, saying that Germans are "filled with shame" over the Holocaust. During that visit - part of official celebrations of the May 8 anniversary - Israeli and German Cabinet ministers held a historic joint session and approved a series of cooperative projects.