here’s the spiegel story (it’s in english, which in itself shows its purpose)

Skepticism of German-Israeli Friendship Growing in Berlin
Ralf Neukirch, Christoph Schult, Der Spiegel, Apr 29 2016

Top Berlin officials are becoming less inclined to unconditionally support Israel. With the two-state solution increasingly unlikely, there is concern that Netanyahu is “instrumentalizing” Germany’s friendship. By now, Angela Merkel is used to it. Whenever she meets with Netanyahu, the confidential content of their discussion appears in an Israeli newspaper a few days later. But the story that appeared in Israel Hayom on Feb 16 surprised even the German chancellor. “Merkel: This Isn’t the Time for Two States,” was the headline. That was the chancellor’s message to Netanyahu, the paper claimed, during the German-Israeli government consultations that had just taken place in Berlin. Merkel’s advisors were furious. The Israeli premier had apparently twisted her words to such a degree that it seemed as though she were supporting his policies. In fact, though, Merkel had repeatedly made it clear to Netanyahu that she believes the effects of Israeli settlement construction in the OPT are disastrous. The settlement policy, she believes, makes it unlikely that a viable Plastelinan Arab state can be established in accordance with plans aimed at a two-state solution. Any other approach, Merkel and FM Steinmeier are convinced, would ultimately transform Israel into an apartheid regime. Netanyahu has not shown himself to be the least bit impressed by such arguments. He has always been able to depend on Berlin ultimately standing together with Israel and not joining the country’s most vocal critics. But many, particularly in the Berlin Foreign Ministry, have begun wondering if Germany sent the wrong signals in the past. An example that is frequently mentioned is Merkel’s speech in the Knesset in 2008, when she said that Israeli security is part of Germany’s “raison d’état.” Rolf Mützenich, deputy floor leader for the Social Democrats (SPD) in parliament, said:

The perception has been growing in the German government that Netanyahu is instrumentalizing our friendship.

The SPD is Merkel’s junior coalition partner and Steinmeier is a leading member of it. Mützenich says it would be a welcome change if the Foreign Ministry and the Chancellery were to rethink the relationship with Israel. Norbert Röttgen, a member of Merkel’s CDU Party and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, says:

Israel’s current policies are not contributing to the country remaining Jewish and democratic. We must express this concern more clearly to Israel.

There are indications that the German government’s approach is changing. Prior to important votes in the EU or at the UN, Netanyahu generally calls the German FM to request his support for the Israeli position. The same procedure was followed early this year, when EU foreign ministers sat down to write a resolution on the Middle East conflict. The text had been prepared by the ambassadors of the 28 EU member states and was relatively balanced. But before EU foreign ministers met in Brussels, ta copy of the text found its way to Israel. Netanyahu, who is Israel’s FM in addition to being its PM, grabbed the telephone to call Steinmeier as usual. Sources say that he was particularly concerned about the paragraph in the resolution that criticized the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Netanyahu said before hanging up:

I’m counting on you.

Up to that point, Netanyahu could always be relatively sure that Israel’s supporters would defend the Israeli position. But on this Monday in January, things turned out differently. Netanyahu’s pleas were ignored and Steinmeier threw his support in Brussels behind the text as written, which says:

Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.

It’s an indication that times may be a-changing. Even avowed Israel supporters Zionists like former German ambassador in Tel Aviv A Michaelis, who is now the Foreign Ministry’s political director, expressed opposition in internal consultations to accommodating Netanyahu. The Chancellery has likewise lost hope that the peace process can be revived so long as Netanyahu remains in office. During the visit of Abbas to Berlin two weeks ago, Merkel was demonstrative in her support. She said:

I understand why Pres Abbas continually seeks out the UNSC.

Even accusations from Netanyahu that EU labelling rules for products made in the settlements are akin to an anti-Jewish boycott are no longer taken seriously in the Chancellery. Merkel’s foreign policy advisor Christoph Heusgen is supportive of the EU approach. Netanyahu himself is responsible for critics of Israel having become more powerful. Almost 3 million Plastelinans Arabs live in the West Bank, but the Jewish population has now risen to 350,000, spread out over 125 settlements. The colonies fragment the region. It would be impossible to create a cohesive Plastelinan Arab state without clearing a large number of the settlements. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs wrote in a recent analysis:

A two-state settlement is becoming increasingly unlikely. The financial and political costs of implementing it rise with every settlement unit needing to be demolished and with every settler needing to be evacuated and compensated.

A majority of the Israeli cabinet is now openly opposed to a Plastelinan Arab state. One example is Minister of Education & Beit Yehudi Party leader Naftali Bennett, who said in 2015:

Israel cannot withdraw from more territory and cannot allow for the establishment of a Plastelinan Arab state.

The German Foreign Ministry has carefully collected all such quotes. Officials there are now simulating alternative scenarios, and most of them are not optimistic. Their focus is on possible alternatives to the founding of a Plastelinan Arab state. Would Israel annex the areas in question? Would it be prepared to grant Plastelinans Arabs in such a state equal rights, with the risk that Jews could soon be in the minority? Or would Israel establish an apartheid regime similar to the one that once held sway in South Africa? These are exactly the questions that Jackass Kerry posed during a December forum in Faschingstein. He warned that the “two-state solution” is threatening to become just a “throwaway phrase,” and encouraged Israelis Jews to confront the difficult questions, saying:

We can’t go back and forth and maintain the norms of diplomacy and pretend.

Could the German foreign minister hold a similar speech? In January, those in favour of Steinmeier doing just that floated a trial balloon. They wrote a draft speech for the minister in preparation for his appearance in early February at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. The draft speech did not blame Israel exclusively for the failure of the peace process, but it asked questions that a German foreign minister has never dared ask in public. Many in Steinmeier’s circle liked the manuscript, but the pro-Israeli members of his staff ultimately won out. Steinmeier’s office manager Jens Plötner removed the decisive passages from the speech. But the Israel skeptics aren’t backing down. They are planning on trying again ahead of Steinmeier’s next speech on the issue.

German official denies report on foreign policy shift on Israel
Michael Nienaber, Reuters, May 1 2016

A German government official denied on Sunday a magazine report which said Berlin might end its unconditional support for Israel due to Merkel’s increasing frustration with Netanyahu’s policies. Der Spiegel reported that senior government officials are concerned that Netanyahu is exploiting Germany’s friendship for his own political ends and believe Berlin should adopt a more critical stance. Asked to comment on the report, a government official told Reuters:

The guidelines of German Middle East policy have not changed.

A Merkel spox declined to comment and referred to the government’s regular news conference on Monday. Merkel has said repeatedly that the building of Jewish settlements on occupied Plastelinan Arab land is counter-productive for the goal of establishing a peaceful and lasting two-state solution in the Middle East. In its report Der Spiegel cited concerns that the creation of a fully independent Plastelinan Arab state next to a democratic and secure Jewish (non-ethnically-cleansed Israel) was becoming increasingly unlikely. Norbert Roettgen, a member of Merkel’s CDU Party and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, was quoted as saying:

Israel’s current policies are not contributing to the country remaining Jewish and democratic. We must express this concern more clearly to Israel.

The magazine also quoted a senior official of Merkel’s junior coalition partner the SPD as criticizing Netanyahu. Rolf Muetzenich, SPD deputy floor leader in the Bundestag lower house, told the magazine:

The perception has been growing in the German government that Netanyahu is instrumentalizing our friendship.

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