Netanyahu: In Abstaining From UN Vote, Germany Did Not Advance Peace

Visiting in Berlin, the prime minister tells press that many Israelis are disappointed with Chancellor Merkel and that in supporting the Palestinian bid, European countries violated the Oslo Accord.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the German press that he and many other Israelis were "disappointed" with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conduct regarding Israel. Die Welt on Wednesday night published an interview with the Israeli premier, who is visiting in Berlin, under the title "Netanyahu disappointed with Chancellor."

"I appreciated the support of Chancellor Merkel and the German government during the operation in Gaza," Netanyahu told the German paper, however adding that "At the same time, I would be disingenuous if I didn’t tell you that I was disappointed, as were many people in Israel, by the German vote in the UN. I think that people understand that there is a special relationship between Germany and Israel."

Netanyahu referred to the United Nations General Assembly vote on upgrading the Palestinian Authority's status to that of a non-member observer state. Germany abstained from the vote.

"I think that Chancellor Merkel believed that this vote would somehow advance peace," Netanyahu told the paper. "That was her goal. But in fact the opposite happened because, in the aftermath of the UN resolution, we see that the Palestinian Authority under President Abbas is moving to unite with the Hamas terrorists. The resolution did not call for recognizing the Jewish state or ending the conflict with us or having security safeguards. It has encouraged the Palestinians, actually to toughen their position and not to enter negotiations. So despite the goal of the German abstention, I think that it produced the opposite outcome. It has pushed peace backwards."

Germany was not the only state to disappoint Netanyahu. The Prime Minister said that, excluding the Czech Republic who opposed the bid, he was disappointed with all of the European countries.

"I think that there’s a willingness to believe the worst about Israel in some quarters of Europe, and that’s something that has been part of our history in Europe for many generations," Netanyahu said. "People believed outrageous things about the Jewish people, as some now believe about the Jewish state. What is our great crime? What is it we’re doing? We’re building in the areas that will remain in a final peace settlement of Israel. This is not some foreign land. This is the land in which the Jewish people have been for close to 4000 years."

The prime minister continued: "What we’re talking about is suburbs contiguous to Jerusalem. And everybody knows that they will remain part of Israel. You don’t change the map, you don’t prejudge anything. I think there is heightened sensitivity. I didn’t see this heightened sensitivity from some of these governments when the Palestinians violated the Oslo Accords."

When asked if he is accusing the countries that supported the bid in violating the Oslo accord, Netanyahu said: "I think maybe that wasn’t their intention. Maybe their intention in voting for it or even abstaining was the thought that they were somehow advancing peace. In effect, the consequence was the exact opposite." 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their private dinner at the Chancellery in Berlin, December 5, 2012.Credit: Reuters

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