Contrary to a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not shifted her position toward his, and emissaries are on their way to Yerushalayim to set the record straight, according to sources in Berlin, The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.
On February 16, Merkel said at a joint press conference with Netanyahu in Berlin that now is “certainly not the time to make really comprehensive progress.”
Netanyahu later hailed Merkel’s statement as evidence that world leaders are coming around to his point of view.
“When I said it a year ago, everyone came out and attacked me viciously,” Netanyahu said.
“Today we hear the same things from the leaders of the world, not only from [U.S. President Barack] Obama and Merkel. Even the leader of the opposition [in Israel, Isaac Herzog] understands it now.”
According to Die Welt, Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of parliament for Merkel’s center-right CDU party, is slated to clarify the matter with the Israeli leader in Yerushalayim on Monday.
“Netanyahu is usually very clear. Therefore he must state clearly that he holds on to the two-state solution. Most of all, he must not abuse visits at Israel’s closest friend in Europe — Germany — to misinterpret Germany’s position,” said Kiesewetter, who has long been a supporter of Israel.
Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesperson of the CDU’s parliamentary faction, warned that “a misinterpretation of the chancellor’s position for political gains in Israel would strain bilateral relations.”
The foreign policy spokesperson of the center-left SPD, a member of Merkel’s coalition, affirmed that Germany continues to call for a two-state solution that guarantees a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state. “This position is also not going to change through a very creative interpretation of the chancellor,” Niels Annen said.
Even members of the opposition criticized Netanyahu. “The chancellor rightfully brought up the stagnation in the Holy Land, which is frustrating for us all,” said the foreign policy spokesperson of Greens, Omid Nouripour. “To turn this into a disavowal of the two-state solution shows what is lacking most for a solution of the conflict: political will.”