Going into elections, Merkel says support for Israel’s security 'part of Germany’s raison d’etre'

German Chancellor Merkel hails cooperation "that brings to countries together," says Israel’s security part of Germany’s ethos.

Angela Merkel 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Angela Merkel 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a week ahead of the federal elections that Israel’s security is part of Germany’s national ethos.
In an interview for the September 13 edition of the publication Jewish Voice from Germany, Merkel – when asked about the Iranian nuclear weapons threat directed at Israel – said, “That means that we’ll never be neutral and that Israel can be sure of our support when it comes to ensuring its security. That’s why I also said that Germany’s support for Israel’s security is part of our national ethos, our raison d’etre.”
She flatly rejected anti-Zionism as a legitimate position, saying, “For those who share my view that the Jews as a people have a right to self-determination, Zionism as a national movement of the Jewish people is the embodiment of this very right which its opponents want to deny.”
In response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s assertion that “Zionism is a crime against humanity,” Merkel said in the interview that she has addressed his comments.
“I’ve spoken several times with Prime Minister Erdogan about relations between Turkey and Israel. I’m pleased that, following President Obama’s visit to Israel, talks between Israel and Turkey are again taking place and hope that relations between them will further improve in the interest of both countries,” said Merkel.
With respect to Israeli settlements in the disputed territories, she said, “I’ve often made critical comments about settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and in east Jerusalem, and my position hasn’t changed. At the same time, it’s equally important to me that the two sides, both Israel and the Palestinians, work towards a durable peace settlement, that’s to say a viable two-state solution. And I will support every step taken by an Israeli government to make such talks possible.”
When asked in the interview if Germany will block Turkey’s admission to the EU based on its Cyprus policies and its hostility toward Israel, Merkel said, “We’ve stated very clearly that no negotiating chapters between the European Union and Turkey will be concluded before the Ankara Protocol is complied with, that’s to say before Turkey grants all EU member states, including Cyprus, access to its ports. That hasn’t happened as yet and it’s therefore a major obstacle for the continuation of accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey.”
Merkel’s interview was published in German and English.
The large daily Die Welt headlined its article about the interview: “Merkel warns over the delegitimization of Israel.”
Merkel said: “Israel is still the only true democracy in the Middle East. We want to work together as closely as possible in all spheres and can be proud of our cooperation in culture, science or environmental protection. In development policy, we’re carrying out very successful trilateral projects together, for example in Ethiopia. Another priority is youth exchange.
“So you can see that our cooperation is rich and diverse. That brings people in the two countries together and makes them colleagues and friends. That’s at least as important as good cooperation between our governments.”