Germany Won't Reopen Reparations Agreement

The German finance minister will not consider reopening the reparations agreement between Israel and Germany, Peer Steinbrueck's spokesman told Haaretz over the weekend.

The statement was made in response to a statement published in Haaretz last week that Minister for Pensioner Affairs Rafi Eitan, who is in charge of the talks with Germany on reparations for Holocaust survivors and retrieving Jewish property, intends to discuss the matter with the German minister when he visits Israel in two weeks.

Steinbrueck's office said the minister had not received word of Eitan's intention to renegotiate. "The minister does not intend to meet with Eitan on his visit," Steinbrueck's spokesman told German media.

Eitan told Haaretz that the original reparations agreement, the Luxembourg Agreement, did not take into account many issues relating to Holocaust survivors and should therefore be reopened.

Eliahu Salpeter, a Holocaust survivor and an author, told German media he opposes Eitan's plans to reopen the agreement. "It's time Israel stood on its own two feet, 60 years after the war," Salpeter said. He added that Germany's "moral and political support" of Israel was more important than the reparations.