Streicht Deutschland den Israelis, die hohen Rabatte für Militär Güter?
Report: Germany cancels military subsidy deal with Israel following breakdown of peace negotiations
Is Germany fed up with Israel? Berlin has nixed a deal to give Israel a 30% discount on a $1 billion purchase of German gunboats, allegedly to be used for the protection of Israeli offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea. Reportedly Israeli national security adviser Joseph Cohen claimed Chancellor Angela Merkel made an “explicit” promise to subsidize the purchase of the gun boats during a joint meeting between German and Israeli cabinets last February, but his counterpart, Merkel’s national security adviser Christoph Heusgen, denied that ever happened.
According to Haaretz, Heusgen told Cohen that there was “no chance” Germany’s parliament would approve the deal “given the breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which has been blamed at least partly on Israeli settlement construction.“
For anyone following the trajectory of German-Israeli relations, this is long overdue. Back in ’09 at a press conference in Germany during Netanyahu’s first official visit after being elected prime minister, Merkel emphatically called for a full halt on settlement expansion (“Time is of the essence.”). This was after Cohen’s predecessor, Uzi Arad, had “demanded” Merkel not even mention settlements during the press conference lest Netanyahu threaten to cancel the visit!
Later that same year Germany had tried influencing the U.S not to oppose the Goldstone Report at the UN, as a ploy to pressure Israel into complying with a settlement freeze, as revealed by a leaked cable from the U.S. embassy in Berlin. At the time of the leak, in 2010, The Jerusalem Post reported “The WikiLeaks disclosure is said by some in Germany to reveal profound cracks in the “special relationship” between Israel and Germany.”
Fast forward a few years and media reports out of Germany have echoed sentiments those profound cracks were widening, indicating diplomatic relations between the two countries were deteriorating. Reports such as DW‘s A turning point in German-Israeli relations note German public opinion of Israel is on a nosedive (only 14 percent of Germans have a positive view of Israel) and characterize the relationship as “the worst crisis in diplomatic ties since Merkel took office almost 10 years ago.” Published on the eve of Merkel’s 2014 disastrous press conference in Israel with Netanyahu (see photo above) and less than 2 weeks after EU President Martin Schulz speech at Knesset caused an uproar that reverberated in Germany and throughout Europe (but was ignored altogether by the US press!), the delay in any meaningful resolution between Israel and Palestine looms large.
Let’s review what went down last February while Merkel and her cabinet were visiting Israel. Via The Local Germany’s News in English, Merkel: Israeli settlement a ‘grave concern’:
“We are looking at the settlements issue with grave concern,” Merkel said at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We hope it will not stand in the way of a two-state solution and that we can overcome it.”…
Merkel ….. reiterated that Germany adhered to the EU position on settlements, which under guidelines published in July prohibits financial dealings with settlement-based entities.
Hmm. Does that square with Merkel making an explicit promise to subsidize an Israel purchase worth hundreds of millions of dollars with no quid pro quo?
And what does it mean, that Germany adhered to the EU position on settlements under guidelines published last July? We reported at the time, the new European Union directive had a territorial clause banning all EU funding of projects in territories occupied by Israel since the ’67 war (pdf).