Germany Warns Visiting Sports Delegation Not to Visit Ma’aleh Adumim
The German Embassy in Tel-Aviv attempted to prevent a delegation from visiting the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement bloc, east of Jerusalem, citing as its reason that it was Palestinian territory, Israel’s NRG reported on Sunday.
The incident occurred during the visit of the “Turbina Potsdam” women’s soccer team to Israel two months ago. The visit was organized by the B’nai B’rith International Jewish organization as part of the celebrations over fifty years of relations between the two countries. Among the events planned was a friendly match with the Israeli national young women’s team.
According to the report, the German Embassy tried to have a players’ fitness training session that was to be held in Ma’aleh Adumim canceled. That day, the delegation had intended to visit Masadah, and Ma’aleh Adumim was a convenient spot to hold the players’ daily training session.
Two days before the delegation arrived in Israel, a German Embassy representative sent an e-mail to the team managers, recommending not to visit Ma’aleh Adumim, since it was Palestinian territory.
When the trip organizers ignored the Embassy’s request, it sent another, harsher, e-mail saying that visiting Ma’aleh Adumim and the sport facilities at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus would be “contrary to international law.”
The German Embassy’s representative responded to inquiries saying that it was attempting to comply with the policies of the German Football Association. However, according to Ralph Hoffman, B’nai B’rith’s German and European president, when he investigated the matter, it turned out the Embassy’s claim was not true.
Hoffman says that the “trip was funded by the German Foreign Office’s budget to celebrate fifty years of relations. It was coordinated with the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, including Ambassador Yaakov Hadas who personally met with the players, and the German Ambassador in Tel Aviv, Andreas Michaelis.” He added that he “found it hard to understand this attitude,” since “the players did not come here for political reasons.”
Reports indicate that this is at least the second time the Germans have undertaken such a move. Two weeks ago, reported NRG, the German Embassy threatened to cancel a large academic conference because it was being held on Mount Scopus.