Netanyahu corrects German FM on 'two-state' support

'Whether or not it's defined as a state when we have the military control is another matter - I'd rather not discuss labels, but substance.'

AFP,

PM Netanyahu with German FM Sigmar Gabriel
PM Netanyahu with German FM Sigmar Gabriel
Kobi Gideon, GPO

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Jerusalem on Wednesday, publicly correcting him over Israel's stance on a "two-state solution."

Netanyahu had cancelled a meeting with Gabriel in April when the visiting diplomat declined to call off meetings with radical leftist groups.

In statements after Wednesday's meeting, the two were cordial, but Netanyahu interrupted Gabriel when he talked about a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs.

Gabriel said he was "very thankful to hear that, of course, also the government of Israel wants to have two states" with secure Israeli borders.

Netanyahu interjected to reiterate his position that his country would have to maintain security control in Palestinian Arab areas under any peace arrangement.

"No, that we will control security west of the Jordan (river)... that is I think the first condition," Netanyahu said.

"Whether or not it's defined as a state when we have the military control is another matter, but I'd rather not discuss labels, but substance."

Speaking later in Tel Aviv, Gabriel questioned Israel's approach to the conflict.

"These, at best, mixed signals do not go unnoticed in Europe, where there is clearly growing frustration with Israel's actions," Gabriel said in a speech at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies think-tank.

"Also in Germany, and frankly inside my own party, young people, the young generation, feel increasingly less inclined to accept what they deem unfair treatment of the Palestinians.

"And it's increasingly difficult for people like me to explain to them the reasons why our support for Israel must persist. As a friend and close ally, we need to know if Israel is not supporting a negotiated solution to this conflict anymore."

Gabriel also met PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in of Ramallah on Wednesday.




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