German leader Angela Merkel gives her support to her foreign minister after the Israeli prime minister canceled their meeting this week. However, Merkel stated that this diplomatic incident will in no way affect German-Israeli relations.

Merkel says controversy won't affect relations

Merkel says controversy won’t affect relations Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday expressed her support for German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, following a diplomatic controversy over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to meet with him this week. Merkel said that like Gabriel, she also meets with civil society organizations in other countries while on visits.

Merkel stands by Gabriel, who met with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem prompting the prime minister’s cancellation. “We were in close contact during his visit to Israel,” she answered when asked if Gabriel had her support.

However, Merkel reiterated that this diplomatic storm will not affect relations between the two countries. “It changes nothing in our conviction that support for the State of Israel is part of our raison d’etat.”

Gabriel met with far-leftist Israeli groups before meeting with Netanyahu

Gabriel met with far-leftist Israeli groups before meeting with Netanyahu Photo Credit: EPA, Abir Sultan/Reuters/Channel 2 News

Furthermore, yesterday evening (Friday) an senior Israeli official called Netanyahu’s cancellation “A just move, but not necessarily a smart one.” 

As previously reported by JOL, Netanyahu spoke with German daily newspaper Bild to explain the reason that prompted him to cancel the meeting: “My policy is clear: not to meet with diplomats who visit Israel and meet with organizations that defame IDF soldiers and try to prosecute our soldiers as war criminals, which diplomats would never consider doing in the United States, Britain or anywhere else,”

Gabriel also commented on the events Friday and said, “It seems Mr. Netanyahu is under big pressure over what he has done. This is why he is appearing in German newspapers.”