Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was mistaken to believe that the Palestinians’ upgrade to nonmember observer state status at the United Nations “would in some way foster peace.”
“In fact the opposite is the case: after the UN vote, the Palestinian Authority under president [Mahmoud] Abbas is making plans to join with the terrorists of Hamas,” Netanyahu told the Die Welt newspaper upon visiting Germany.
Germany abstained from the UN vote Nov. 29, rather than opposing the Palestinians’ move.
“I would be insincere if I didn’t say I was disappointed, as were many people in Israel, by the German vote in the UN,” Netanyahu said. “People know that there is a special relationship between Germany and Israel.”
Additionally, at a news conference with Netanyahu in Berlin, Merkel said she and Netanyahu “agreed that we disagree” on Israel’s new construction plans in the E1 area near Jerusalem. Merkel said “the work on a two-state solution must be continued” and that “we must keep trying to come to negotiations.” Her spokesman Steffen Seibert said earlier in the week that “Israel is undermining faith in its willingness to negotiate and the geographic space for a future Palestinian state, which must be the basis for a two-state solution, is disappearing.”
Netanyahu, however, explained in his interview with Die Welt that the planned E1 construction was in parts of Jerusalem where the Palestinians had agreed during past talks would be Israeli territory in a peace agreement.