Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 18:07Netanyahu snubs German minister over plan to meet rights groups
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled talks with Germany's visiting foreign minister, snubbing Sigmar Gabriel over his decision to meet groups critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
The dispute threatened to widen a rift between Israel and Germany over the Palestinian issue. Berlin has been increasingly critical of the settlement policies of Netanyahu's right-wing government in territory Palestinians seek for a state.
"The meeting is cancelled," said David Keyes, a Netanyahu spokesman.
"Imagine if foreign diplomats visiting the United States or Britain met with NGOs that call American or British soldiers war criminals. Leaders of those countries would surely not accept this."
On Monday, an Israeli official had said Netanyahu, who is also foreign minister, would not see Gabriel if he went ahead with meeting the Israeli group "Breaking the Silence".
The organisation, a frequent target of criticism by the Israeli government, collects testimony from Israeli veterans about the military's treatment of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Gabriel said before the cancellation was announced that it would be "a remarkable event, to put it mildly", if Netanyahu called off their meeting.
Speaking later during a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Gabriel said: "You can absolutely be sure we are committed to the friendship, the partnership and the special relationship with Israel and nothing will change this."
Keyes played down the impact of the the spat, saying: "Our relations with Germany are very important and will not be affected by this."
Germany sees itself as one of Israel's closest allies and the cooperation and trade links are extensive. The legacy of the Nazi-era Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed during World War Two, means ties are highly charged.
Gabriel said it was normal to talk to civil society representatives in Israel, a view that drew expressions of support from Israeli opposition leaders.
"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," Gabriel told Germany's ZDF television.
A spokesman for Breaking the Silence declined to comment on Netanyahu's decision to snub Gabriel, or on the details of its planned meeting with the German minister, which the Peace Now movement said it would also attend along with the B'Tselem rights group.
Roderich Kiesewetter, a lawmaker from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party, told Die Welt newspaper the Israeli leader had "made a mistake" in shunning Gabriel, "a good friend of Israel".
In February, Netanyahu ordered the reprimand of the Belgian ambassador after Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel met with representatives of Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem during his visit to the region.
Right-wing Israeli politicians accuse the groups of damaging Israel's reputation abroad and putting Israeli soldiers and officials at risk of prosecution. They dislike the fact that some NGOs receive funds from EU countries.
Gabriel, a Social Democrat who has spoken publicly about his rift with his late father, a convinced Nazi, is visiting the Middle East to press for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Germany in March cancelled an annual meeting of German and Israeli leaders planned for May amid rising frustration in Berlin with settlement activity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
In 2016, Israel passed a law requiring non-government organizations that receive more than half their funding from foreign governments or bodies to provide details of their donations. The legislation was largely seen as targeting left-wing organisations such as Breaking the Silence and B'tselem, and it drew international criticism.
-------------The arrogance and ingratitude of the Jews - these Rodents in Human Form.
Germany that gave them millions, billions of euros in reparation of a Hoax - the 6 million gassed and cremated Rodents.
Germany, that supplied them with submarines that carry nuclear warheads - they could lie silent for weeks off Italy's West Coast and destroy most of our European cities: Rome, Vienna, Paris...
Such vessels could lie in wait off Iran's coast and provoke a nuclear war: blaming their friends, the Americans of course.
These Vermin and their illegal Terrorist State - behind all Terrorism, anywhere in the world.
The Mischief Makers - but everyone is leaving them and soon, even Boobus Americanus will tire of carrying the ugly dwarf on his shoulders.
Soon, Atlas will shrug off the Golem.
The Golden Dawn