Berlin — A senior adviser to German chancellor Angela Merkel urged the U.S. to water down its opposition to the U.N.’s anti-Israel “Goldstone Report” in order to force Israel to freeze settlement construction, according to a cable from the U.S. embassy in Berlin published by WikiLeaks.
The dispatch from Merkel’s point man on the Middle East, Christoph Heusgen, ought to raise giant question marks over Merkel’s oft-repeated declarations to the U.S. Congress and the Israeli Knesset that the Jewish state’s security is “non-negotiable” for Germany.
The embassy said in the November 2009 cable: “[National Security Adviser Christoph] Heusgen said that Germany ‘perceives this differently’ and thought Netanyahu needed ‘to do more’ in order to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table. With Palestinians in East Jerusalem getting notices from Israeli authorities that their houses will be destroyed, it would be ‘suicide’ for President Abbas to move under the current circumstances.
“Heusgen said he could not fathom why Netanyahu did not understand this. He suggested pressuring Netanyahu by linking favorable UNSC [Security Council] treatment of the Goldstone Report to Israel committing to a complete stop in settlement activity.”
Heusgen conveyed his remarks in a November 10 meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon and the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Philip Murphy.
According to the cable, “Gordon said that making a direct linkage between the two would almost certainly be counterproductive, but agreed that it was worth pointing out to the Israelis that their policy on settlements was making it difficult for their friends to hold the line in the UNSC. Heusgen said this certainly would be an issue when Netanyahu and ‘half of his cabinet’ visit Berlin on November 30 for bilateral government consultations.”
To their credit (somewhat), Murphy and Gordon did not completely capitulate to the German demands. But their willingness, like that of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, to remain incurably fixated on the construction of housing complexes as the impediment to peace shows the dangerous merger of American and EU foreign policy. Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons is relegated to an inferior status — at the expense of global security.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu views the Goldstone report — which charged Israel with committing war crimes during its December 2008–January 2009 operations to stop Hamas rocket attacks — as one of the most serious security threats targeting Israel, after the Iranian regime.
Chancellor Merkel’s phony pledge to prioritize Israel’s security interests as part of the so-called German-Israeli “special relationship” is nothing short of betrayal. If she wishes to unravel some of the damage done to the terribly non-special German-Israeli relationship, she could summarily dismiss Heusgen, who has angered Israelis over the years because of his hostility toward the Jewish state. Heusgen is the U.S. equivalent of Charles Freeman.
— Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.