German FM visits Israel, addresses Gaza reconstruction and peace talks

Steinmeier meets with Israeli officials; Netayahu and Steinmeier address press on Iran, resumption of peace talks

Steinmeier and Netanyahu Sunday (Mark Israel)

Steinmeier and Netanyahu Sunday (Mark Israel)

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Israel Sunday to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

Netanyahu and Steinmeier met before addressing the press, their meeting focused on Iran and its funding of terrorism in the region, resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians as well as the Palestinian’s attempts to expel Israel from FIFA.

In the press conference following their meeting, Steinmeier spoke at length on the need to rebuild the Gaza Strip following Operation Protective Edge of 2014. He stated that “We have to look for options with the Palestinians. The situation in Gaza is very hard; we have to think about the reconstruction of Gaza. Israel’s security is tied to the prosperity of Gaza because none of us want another war between Israel and Gaza.”

President Rivlin stated on Gaza’s reconstruction, “We do not need to be pressured, the need to rebuild Gaza and the renewal of direct negotiations is very clear to us. The Palestinian’s unilateral actions as we saw for example on Friday in Zurich are unnecessary and a bizarre twist on history – that the successors of those who murdered athletes in Munich should now be promoting a boycott of Israel, goes against the ideas of humanity and justice.”

Netanyahu addressed efforts by the Palestinians to delegitimize Israel, stating, “It doesn’t matter what we do, but rather what we represent. What hasn’t been said about the Jewish people? They said we were the source of all evil in the world, that we poisoned their wells, that we drink the blood of small children. They are saying the same thing about us today. It was not true then, and it is not true now. There is no truth in it… the last thing we have to do is bow our head, and ask where to we erred. We did not err. We are not a perfect state, and don’t claim to be. But they are putting distorted standards for us, higher than for any other country, any other democracy.”

He added that, “We are not dealing with justification, we are dealing with saying the truth. As long as we reject this and refrain from self-flagellation, we will be stronger.”

Hotovely stated on German-Israeli relations as well as the BDS movement internationally that, “Germany is one of our best friends. We deeply appreciate its unwavering stance against rising anti-Semitism in Europe, and hope it will continue to lead the struggle against this destructive phenomenon…Israel is facing a tough wave of boycotts coming from Europe and we expect Germany to lead the struggle against the labeling of products made in Judea and Samaria. The boycott of products impairs the entire fabric of life in Judea and Samaria, both on the Palestinian side and the Israeli side.”