The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is holding its annual Global Forum by virtual means this year, in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Among other world leaders and diplomats to address the gathering, German Chancellor Angela Merkel used the platform to express unwavering support for Israe
“Part of our responsibility involves standing up for Israel’s security. That is non-negotiable,” said the German leader.
In her taped address, Merkel said she also “would like to add that lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through understanding between the peoples and a negotiated Two State solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The German Chancellor also stressed her country’s responsibility to protect the Jewish people by taking resolute action against antisemitism in all its forms. “We are aware of our responsibility to remember the many millions of Jewish children, women and men, who were robbed of their rights, persecuted and murdered by Germans during the Holocaust,” she said; while stressing that her nation is “also aware of our responsibility to take resolute action against antisemitism in all its forms” she described as “part of our national ethos” over Germany’s role in the Second World War.
In other international developments, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman held a second meeting in as many days in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alternate Premier and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Parliament Speaker Yariv Levin.
While Netanyahu continues promote the annexation of a little over 30% of the West Bank immediately in accordance with the U.S. peace plan, senior Trump Administration officials are reportedly advocating a more cautious approach. The most prominent of those officials is Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, who is regarded as the architect of the proposal. Kushner informed Netanyahu of his objection and urged him to implement only a partial annexation – which would be subject to the consent of his coalition partners, including Gantz and Ashkenazi.
In an interview with the AJC, Gantz highlighted his intention to accept the Trump peace plan in its entirety as a basis to move forward, while underscoring the importance of advancing in a responsible and coordinated manner.
“First, I think it is a very important vision, and in a way ‘plan.’ I had the opportunity and privilege of expressing it to the President himself and I have been in close contact with contact with his people all along. It gives us a realistic approach of how a stable future should look like. And, I intend to promote it as much as I can, in the most responsible way. It is the best line to continue from. And, all in all, I think it is a great plan, and we have to work on the basis of it and we have to move forward with regional partners, with local partners, and of course with consensus from within Israeli society and with full coordination and acceptance of the backup with need from the United States,” said Israel’s Alternate Premier and Defense Minister.
While the Israeli discussions with Ambassador Friedman were held behind closed doors, a source informed TV7 that the main obstacle to the matter of asserting sovereignty over the West Bank remains a domestic issue.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu also held talks with representatives of the Bitchonistim Movement, which represents over 1,000 IDF reserve officers of various ranks who seek to promote an alternative voice of conservative fortitude.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak Gershon praised the Israeli Premier for the way he has lead the nation over the past decade. Gershon, who formerly served as the commanding officer of the IDF Home Front Command, further asserted that “There is a paradigm shift in reality on the decision of what will happen between the Jordan (River) and the Sea (Mediterranean) is one of the most important and most dramatic decisions of the Zionist movement of this generation.”
And while unity among Israel’s political leadership was legally required to bring about any decision over the extension of sovereignty; General Gershon voiced a veiled accusation of disturbing the prospects of so-called annexation at Netanyahu’s political partners Gantz and Ashkenazi – both of whom formerly served as IDF Chiefs of the Staff.
“Regrettably, I cannot see another leader – I see those that are trying to disturb the measure – another leader amongst us who is capable of leading this measure. Mr. Prime Minister, I urge you to do this (assert sovereignty over West Bank) not for your sake, but for our sake and for the sake of future generations,” he said.
Netanyahu responded to the statements by emphasizing his determination to realize the annexation bid, saying, “This is the opportunity that we are facing, and this is what we are working on at the moment, and I appreciate your significant support. I am happy to hear that there are one thousand (IDF) officers, among thousands of others that want to join you. May you be blessed.”