The Palestinians and the Iran nuclear deal will be the focus of Merkel’s visit, which she reportedly threatened to cancel if an illegal Arab village is destroyed.
By: World Israel News Staff
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and members of her cabinet will arrive in Israel on Wednesday evening for a two-day visit in the country.
Merkel is slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. Netanyahu last met Merkel in Berlin in June. The chancellor visited the Jewish state in February 2014.
The Palestinian issue and the Iran nuclear deal, which Germany is struggling to salvage, will be the focus of their meetings.
According to IDF Radio, Merkel’s office informed Israel that if the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar is demolished before her arrival, she will cancel her visit. The German Embassy, however, denied the report, saying there was “never a doubt that the government to government consultations would take place.”
However, the US lent its support to the court-ordered demolition. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in the daily briefing that the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar meets legal standards and is therefore acceptable to the US.
Merkel is scheduled to visit Yad Vashem, Israel national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. This will be her third visit to the site.
The German leader will receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa University at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where she will tour an exhibit on Israeli innovation and hold a roundtable meeting with Netanyahu and Israeli businesspeople.
Merkel is being recognized for “her leadership grounded in principles of equality, freedom and human rights; for serving as a model to women around the world; in appreciation of her warm friendship and robust ties between The Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel,” the university said in a statement.
Finally, Netanyahu and Merkel will lead an inter-governmental (G2G) meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
Commenting on the visit, Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted “a few words on German Israeli relations – Those are unique relations, not to be dissociated from the Shoah [Holocaust] and the German responsibility.”
“It is a joint commitment to remembrance and memory, as well as a commitment to forge special links of friendship between our young generations,” he added.
Jerusalem’s relations with Berlin under Merkel are considered excellent and highly beneficial to the Jewish state.
“Germany and Israel are connected with a unique relationship. Out of the heritage of our history, out of the break of civilization that was the Holocaust, we Germans have a special responsibility for the relationship with Israel,” Merkel said Friday in a video for her weekly podcast, Times of Israel reported.
“We can be very thankful that today we’re close partners and friends,” she underscored.
Merkel is not expected to visit the Palestinian Authority during this visit.