Heiko Maas
Heiko Maas Reuters

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to make a quick visit to Israel on Wednesday in order to warn Israeli officials of implications should Israel go ahead with a move to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, senior Israeli officials and European diplomats told Barak Ravid of Channel 13 News on Friday.

Maas, who will come to Israel as a guest of Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, will also meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and is expected to convey a double message: On the one hand, Israel is very important to Germany and it wants to continue the strong alliance with Israel, but on the other it firmly opposes annexation that may harm Israel-Germany relations as well as relations between Israel and the European Union.

Maas’ visit is important, noted Ravid, because the Germans will take up the role of president of both EU and then UN Security Council on July 1. Should Israel apply sovereignty during the timeframe that Netanyahu has been discussing, the issue of the European and international response will be brought before Germany.

The German Foreign Minister intends to make it clear that unilateral annexation will put Germany in a position where it has to choose between its alliance with Israel and international law and EU values. In such a situation, the result will be damage to the relations with Israel. Maas is expected to ask Netanyahu, Gantz and Ashkenazi not to put Germany in such a dilemma, reported Ravid.

Maas has reportedly been discussing the sovereignty issue in recent weeks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and has expressed great concern about the move. Maas also spoke with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Palestinian Authority cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh.

The Germans want to find a way to prevent an international crisis around the sovereignty issue and to present an alternative that will renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The coalition agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz, which stipulates that the government can apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria this coming July, has caused an uproar in Europe.

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, recently warned Israel against applying sovereignty over portions of Judea and Samaria.

“The European Union reiterates that any annexation would constitute a serious violation of international law. The European Union will continue to closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly,” he said.

Last week, Borrell made clear that the EU will not accept an Israeli move to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

Some of the leaders of major European countries recently sent personal letters to Netanyahu urging him not to promote a move to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and to act on the Palestinian issue only in accordance with international law.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)