Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatens to cancel meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel after receiving word that Gabriel was scheduled to meet with Israeli rights groups who are critical of the Israeli government. On Tuesday Gabriel said it would be “regrettable” if Netanyahu did so.
As Sigmar Gabriel prepares for his trip to Israel where he is scheduled to meet with both Israeli rights groups and Benjamin Netanyahu, he faces adversity from Israel over his wish to meet with voices who speak against the Israeli Government. Gabriel said to Germany’s ZDF Television: “Imagine if the Israeli Prime Minister… came to Germany and wanted to meet people critical of the government and we said that is not possible … That would be unthinkable.”
After having been considered a close ally to Israel for a long time, Germany has in recent years steadily become more critical of Israeli settlement plans.
According to Israeli media, Gabriel is supposed to meet with “Breaking the Silence”, which is a group that is concerned with Israeli veterans and the military’s agendas and treatments of Palestinians in the West Bank.
Israeli Environment Minister Zeev Elkin told Israel radio: “The time has come for us to put an end to this situation in which anyone can come and meet groups that act against Israel … you are entitled to meet whoever you want, but don’t expect that all the leaders of the state will stand in line to meet you.”
Netanyahu has previously ordered to reprimand Belgian ambassador after Charles Michel, Belgian Prime Minister, in February met with Israeli rights groups.