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.
“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.
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.