Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel Reuters

Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen (Kulanu) responded to threats by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to cancel her Israel visit if the illegal Bedouin outpost Khan al-Ahmar is demolished.

"If this is true, it's a blatant, serious, and dangerous intervention," Cohen said, "Israel is a sovereign state with a strong and independent court, and we've long since ceased to be a tool to salve the conscience of the Europeans."

Merkel threatened to cancel her arrival today in Israel if the illegal outpost of Khan el Ahmar in the Ma'aleh Adumim area is evacuated.

Eli Cohen
Eli Cohen Economy Ministry Spokesman

Army Radio says Merkel's office informed Israel that if the outpost was evacuated before the visit, she would cancel her visit to Israel, expected to begin tonight.

Last night there was American backing for evacuating the illegal outpost. US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said in a daily briefing to journalists that the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar meets legal standards and is therefore acceptable to the United States.

The Chancellor will hold a one-day visit in Israel to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. During her stay in Israel, she will also visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

An hour after her arrival, Merkel will meet with Netanyahu and the Chancellor, considered the most prominent EU leader, will express opposition to US sanctions imposed on Iran. Germany is also considered a strong opponent of the American withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and wants to preserve it.

Tomorrow, she will receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa University at a festive ceremony to be held at the Israel Museum, followed by a meeting with President Rivlin, after which she will hold a separate meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and then hold a joint press conference.

This morning is causing a serious headache for the police in Jerusalem, who will be reinforced to secure the visit and especially act to prevent harm to the public from the roadblocks required by a state visit of this magnitude.

Police are expected to disrupt traffic and obstruct roads in various parts of the capital, and there may be changes in traffic arrangements on the main arteries leading to Jerusalem for short periods of time.

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