Merkel delays summit with Israel in light of land-grab law

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An Israeli source who was in contact with the German Foreign Ministry and the chancellor’s office last week reported hearing massive anger over the law. The Israeli source, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, said he had heard from German officials that in response to the law’s enactment, the German government had launched a number of initiatives, both publically and in diplomatic channels, to express its dismay at the legislation, Haaretz reported.

According to the source, one of those responses had to do with the Netanyahu-Merkel summit. Merkel’s initiated the summit between the German and Israeli government during Ehud Olmert’s term as prime minister. Since then they have been held almost annually, alternating between Berlin and Jerusalem, and including a meeting between the two premiers and between the ministers of the two governments, as well as a joint cabinet session. The purpose of the summits is to highlight the close relations between the two countries, Haaretz said.

 A few days before the Knesset passed the so-called “Regularization Law,” the chancellor’s office confirmed the date for the Jerusalem summit for May 10 and 11. But only a few days after the law passed, Merkel’s national security adviser, Kristof Heusgen, contacted Netanyahu’s office again and informed them that the chancellor had decided to postpone the summit, due to preparations for the elections in Germany.

However, the elections in Germany are scheduled for September 24, four and a half months after the original date for the summit. What the postponement means that in an unusual occurrence, there will be no joint Israeli-German government summit this year. The Israeli source said he had heard from German officials that despite the election excuse, the real reason for the delay is the new law and Israel’s decision to build 6,000 housing units in the settlements.

“The governments’ summit will most likely not take place in May,” a third senior German official said. “Regarding the elections – they are only in September.”

Source: Haaretz