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Cameron and Merkel to Push for Peace

British PM and German Chancellor will make separate visits to Israel in February, part of an international push for a peace agreement.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/1/2014, 4:16 AM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Flash 90

British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make separate visits to Israel in the second half of February as part of an international push for Israel to sign a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA), Channel 10 News reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the two will arrive in Israel within a few days of one another.

For Cameron, it would be his first visit to Israel since being elected. Merkel will arrive in Jerusalem with several of her cabinet ministers, reciprocating a similar visit to Berlin last year by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and several government ministers.

The visits of the two leaders come in the wake of recent tensions between Israel and Europe, particularly over planned Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.

Just last week, a senior EU official issued a direct warning to Netanyahu, saying that the EU would not tolerate new construction in Judea and Samaria.

"There will be very little understanding on the part of European governments regarding any announcement of construction in the territories now under negotiations. Israel should expect a strong reaction on the part of European governments if it is going to go in that direction,” said the official.

At the same time, the European Union has also dangled a carrot before Israel and the PA, and recently pledged "unprecedented" levels of support to both sides in the event that the two parties reach a final status agreement.

In October, Merkel met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Berlin and urged Israel to show "restraint" in the building of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

At the time, she also reiterated Germany's support for the peace talks and a two-state solution.