Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev (Likud) rejected on Wednesday any interference on the part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Israeli government decision to take down the illegal Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar.
In response to reports that Merkel conditioned her visit to Israel on the delay of the demolition, Regev told Arutz Sheva that it was inappropriate:
“I think that her statement is out of place, and we certainly do not interfere with the decisions of the courts in other countries, and I expect that they will not interfere with the decisions of the Israeli court,” Regev said, referring to the High Court’s order to demolish the village.
“I propose to the German chancellor that she deal with the internal problems of her own country or deal with the very good cooperation system between Germany and Israel. We respect the chancellor and her government, but I expect every leader to take care of the internal affairs of his country only,” Regev said.
Earlier in the day, Army Radio reported that Merkel’s office informed Israel that if the outpost was evacuated before the visit, she would cancel it.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said he was “not aware” of threats by Merkel to cancel in the event of an evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar, according to The Jerusalem Post.
A German Embassy spokesperson also denied the report, insisting that Merkel had not considered a cancellation.
“There was never any doubt that the government-to-government consultations would take place,” she said.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) was not placated. He tweeted in English, “If I was prime minister I would evict the village while Merkel’s aircraft is in the air. So that she will then turn around and go back.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told journalists that the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar meets legal standards and is therefore acceptable to the United States.
In any case, Israeli government sources told Ha’aretz that no evictions or demolitions would take place while Merkel was in the country, although the October 1st deadline has passed. Merkel is, however, expected to raise the topic with Netanyahu, and appeal to him not to move forward with the evictions and demolition.