February 26, 2014
In BDS Blog The Israel-Palestine Conflict
Feb 26, 2014
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday expressed support for Israel’s insistence that the Palestinian Authority recognise Israel as a characteristically Jewish state and also acknowledged the importance of Israeli security concerns.
Merkel held a joint press conference in Jerusalem yesterday alongside Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who reiterated his position on the terms for a workable peace agreement, saying an accord would need to include a “demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state. Without Palestinian recognition of Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people there cannot be real reconciliation.” Netanyahu also called for “ironclad security arrangements … There can be no real peace without security.”
Merkel appeared to concur with Netanyahu, saying, “We in the federal government support a two-state solution – a Palestinian state and a Jewish state of Israel.” She also said Israel’s citizens must feel secure under any peace deal, adding, “We also support Israel’s security requirements to be able to finally live in secure borders.” Chancellor Merkel stated that she opposed boycotts and sanctions against Israel, which she specified is the Middle East’s only real democracy, calling such initiatives “neither moral nor correct nor productive.”
However, Merkel did express reservations over the impact of construction in West Bank settlements. She said that, “for a two-state solution we need territorial integrity … Thus we treat the settlement question with concern, in which we are not always of one opinion,” concluding that, “We hope that we can overcome the problems and that the two-state solution can be implemented with an agreement.”
Merkel and Netanyahu also addressed Iran’s nuclear development. Netanyahu called on the international community to press for Iran to have “Zero enrichment, zero centrifuges, zero plutonium,” adding that his position is shared by “just about anybody in the Middle East.”
Merkel was accompanied on her trip by her cabinet and a joint cabinet session was held in Jerusalem. She was also presented with the Presidential Medal of Distinction by Israel’s President Shimon Peres.