German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel responded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cancellation of their meeting: “I was surprised, it’s not a disaster.”

Sigmar Gabriel

Sigmar Gabriel Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Today (Tuesday), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel after the latter rejected Netanyahu’s ultimatum to cancel his meeting with radical leftist groups.

New details revealed that even prior to Gabriel’s visit, the Prime Minister’s bureau attempted to solve the crisis quietly. Over the past several days, messages were sent from Jerusalem to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin in an attempt to stop his meetings with the radical leftist organizations. It was also reported that Netanyahu had asked to speak with Gabriel in order to explain his reservations but the Foreign Minister refused to accept the call.


Netanyahu Photo credit: Hadas Parush/ Flash 90/ Channel 2 News

Earlier, Gabriel responded to Netanyahu’s decision to cancel their meeting. He told reporters in Jerusalem that he was surprised. “I don’t want to enter the political game in Israel,” he said. “However, it’s not a disaster. My attitude and that of Germany will not change.”

“I was here (in Israel) many times,” the minister continued. “I met Prime Minister Netanyahu many times. I have a good relationship with him and that’s why I was surprised that the meeting was canceled. I was asked to cancel a meeting similar to those that I hold during other visits. I am very sorry about the cancellation. It is important to also meet with non-governmental organizations.”

Following Gabriel’s statement, the Prime Minister’s bureau responded: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy is not to meet with diplomats who visit Israel and meet with organizations that defame IDF soldiers and seek to prosecute them as war criminals.”