Netanyahu in Germany: Merkel is a True Friend of Israel
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met late on Wednesday night in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. An official with the Prime Minister’s entourage noted that the atmosphere at the meeting, which was supposed to last an hour and a half but went on for more than three hours, was very good.
“The conversation clearly indicated that Chancellor Merkel is a true friend of Israel, and that her commitment to Israel's security is real and unconditional," Netanyahu said at the conclusion of the meeting.
The meeting between Netanyahu and Merkel came as Israel faces international pressure to back down from its plan to build new housing units in the area known as E1, and which connects Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim.
Israeli media speculated over the past few days that Merkel would reprimand Netanyahu during the meeting for the building plans, which are a response to the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral bid at the United Nations.
Some European nations, including Britain and France, have summoned the Israeli ambassadors to express a formal protest over the building plans. Germany for its part said it was "deeply concerned" about the plans but would not "for the moment" summon Israel’s ambassador to Berlin.
Merkel said in a podcast on Saturday that Germany maintains an unchanging commitment to Israel's security. “Germany will always stand by Israel,” she said, when it comes to guaranteeing its safety.
Channel 10 News reported that as Merkel and Netanyahu met, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle hosted the Israeli government ministers who are accompanying Netanyahu on his visit.
"This event is proof of the warm relations between Israel and Germany," Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz was quoted as having said during the event.