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Merkel reaffirms German support for Israel after UN vote
Published Saturday 01/12/2012 (updated) 02/12/2012 13:23
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File picture shows the European Union flag above the cupola of
the Reichstag building in Berlin. (Reuters/Thomas Peter)
BERLIN (Reuters) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel reassured Israel of her country's support on Saturday, two days after Berlin disappointed Israel by abstaining in a UN vote on the Palestinians' status.

Germany, which will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of his ministers next week, abstained in Thursday's vote in the UN General Assembly which provided de facto recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Netanyahu's government had hoped that Berlin would join the United States and a handful of other countries in opposing the resolution.

Germany, haunted by memories of the Nazi regime and the Holocaust, tends to be a strong ally of Israel on the diplomatic stage.

"Germany will always stand on the side of Israel on the issue (of Israeli security)," Merkel said in her weekly podcast, and spoke of Berlin's vocal backing for Israel during its latest clashes with Hamas.

"Israel has not only the right but the duty to protect its citizens," she added.

Merkel did not mention the UN resolution, which upgrades the Palestinian Authority's observer status to "non-member state" from entity, a move that gives it access to world bodies including the International Criminal Court.

Germany cited fears the resolution would complicate the peace process as a reason for its abstention. "On the one hand we see the Palestinians' justified desire for their own state, but on the other hand we recognize our special responsibility to Israel, and for peaceful and stable development in the region," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Thursday.

In Europe, only the Czech Republic voted against the resolution while many countries including France backed it.

Merkel reiterated Berlin's support for a two-state solution in the Middle East and urged a speedy resumption of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Netanyahu and his ministers will hold consultations with their German counterparts in Berlin on Thursday. Their talks will cover economic and trade ties and cooperation in science and education as well as regional security issues.
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1 ) carine / UK
01/12/2012 16:41
Pathetic! It just shows how insecure Israel is when, every few days, one country or another fawns over them and reaffirms their commitment to baby-sitting the poor little souls. It's time they were cast adrift and made to fend for themselves.

2 ) Sarah / Holland
01/12/2012 16:52
Burb....

3 ) Abubakar Dabo / Nigeria
01/12/2012 18:30
Elsewhere, there is a hope that the vote at the floor of the General Assembly in support of Palestine statehood marked a new maturity in the UN affairs on Palestinian issues, a sense of accountability for justice. VIVA Palestine!!!

4 ) Dissapointed / Bangladesh
01/12/2012 19:00
Puke

5 ) Business / Israel
01/12/2012 20:43
To #3 and #4: I am curious. You both live in Poverty stricken countries with massive problems, religious fighting, lack of development - considered among the worst places on earth to live by the United Nations (Israel one of the best- higher than the UK). Why do you care about Israel? We dont think about you. Wouldn't your efforts to improve things be better directed at your homes?

6 ) Mel / USA
01/12/2012 21:47
#5:Business/Israel:Lest ye forget TOO,Israel only survives,economically,by feeding on US taxes-ILLEGALLY-from my Govt,against international LAWS,& w/out OUR permission.You bilk your"research"subsidies/monies from USG/EUC,& FREE military weapons,(rogue)nuclear support,& every Jewish-only COLONY,on stolen Arab land,is PAID FOR BY OUR US taxes,at the expense of Arab SOVEREIGNTY&PEACE.W/out all that,your white-Jewish colony,Israel,wouldn't exist,dude! Nigeria&Bangladesh r victims of colonialism too!

7 ) Birgitta / Sweden
01/12/2012 21:54
Shame on Germany.

8 ) Abubakar Dabo / Nigeria
02/12/2012 00:22
#5 Businesses-The finacial devastation wreaked on Israel's economic wellbeing by the cost of funding the Intifada and the settlements could yet be responsible for forcing Israeli citizens to opt out. The Israeli leadership has completely lost the plot. Increasingly businesses are opting to relocate because they can see no end to the cycle of violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. There has been heavy Israeli investments in countries other than Israel for some time. There has even been

9 ) Fred / UK
02/12/2012 00:50
Germany will always stand on the side of Israel,otherwise they will be accused of being antisemetic.

10 ) gabi / australia
02/12/2012 01:19
Would have done better to vote yes. similar comments about us here in Australia Shameful, really. # 5 - Israel one of the best? For European Jews maybe, not for Ethiopians, and certainly not for Arabs. "We don't think about you"? Says it all, really. Famine in Nigeria? Doesn't rate a thought. Yet more floods in Bangladesh? Again, doesn't rate at thought. You make me puke.

11 ) John Hillary / New Zealand
02/12/2012 04:09
Germany is just a carrier of Israeli hasbara. Merkels ""Israel has not only the right but the duty to protect its citizens" is a direct quote.
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