Opinion: Foreign Minister Maas and His Contradictory Israel Policy
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was on his way to Israel on Wednesday morning. The main purpose of the trip was to lecture Israel on its annexation plans in the West Bank.
When Heiko Maas embarked on his trip to Israel and Jordan on Wednesday morning, he made a statement in which he hardly mentioned the main purpose of his visit, namely to express opposition to Israel’s annexation plans in the West Bank. All he said was the issue mattered to people.
In Israel, the world is complicated, especially for the Foreign Minister of a country which keeps on repeating that support for the predominantly Jewish State was raison d’etat, while it is actually working against it in many ways, namely Germany.
When Foreign Minister Maas assumed office, he said he had entered politics because of Auschwitz. He sold himself as Israel’s best friend, but his Israel policy has looked somewhat different. There are many issues:
- Germany keeps on voting for U.N. resolutions against Israel that are filled with untenable accusations and sponsored by Arab states.
- The German Ambassador to Israel supports ‘Human Rights Watch’, an NGO accused of spreading antisemitic propaganda and whose leaders are among the founders of the antisemitic BDS movement.
- When the United States moved their embassy to Jerusalem, the actual capital of Israel, the German government reportedly warned its E.U. partners not to follow suit.
- The European Union, including Germany, are supporting Palestinian NGOs that are affiliated with – or infiltrated by – terror organizations.
- Germany supports the Iran Deal which helps the regime in Teheran come closer to its dream of having nuclear bombs. The same regime threatens to annihilate Israel on a regular basis, and already spreads war and terror all over the Middle East.
The aspects above do not look like support for Israel, but rather the opposite. On top of it all, Berlin keeps on telling the Israelis to get going on the two-state solution, which the Jewish state has supported for decades. Yet again, Maas will address the subject.
Considering it is the Palestinian leadership that does not even want to recognize Israel or return to the negotiating table, considering it is the side that would rather keep on hating and attacking Jews than having its own state or a perspective of peace for the Arabs it says it represents, the Germans should have noticed they keep on taking their demand to the wrong side. They haven’t, until today.
Now, Heiko Maas is on yet another lecturing mission in Israel. This time it is the Europeans’ favorite subject.
We have to give him one thing: In this case, the main subject may be more controversial, even in Israel. It is about a partial annexation of the West Bank, including Israeli settlements which so-called ‘Israel critics’ in Europe keep on mentioning as an excuse for terror, even though the terror started long before the settlements existed.
Strategy for Everything
Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University, who also runs the ‘NGO Monitor’, says there were risks and benefits to the annexation. One of the risks was instability. Steinberg believes there might be violence “because that’s the Palestinian ‘go to’ strategy for everything”.
Another risk, according to Professor Steinberg: “The Europeans will throw another fit, because it’s what they do, with myths and empty slogans about international law and two state ‘solutions'”. And the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor “might open a bogus ‘war crimes’ investigation [against Israel]”, Gerald Steinberg believes. “But she will do so anyway. So the ICC is largely irrelevant in terms of risks.”
Ashkenazi, Gantz and Netanyahu
The benefits Professor Steinberg sees are these: “After 53 years of uncertainty and dead-end peace hopes, Israel needs to determine borders and establish uniform laws for all its citizens. Nobody is going back to pre-1967 armistice lines, and the Palestinians aren’t near negotiating a stable peace.”
Foreign Minister Maas, on the other hand, has a big problem with the annexation of parts of the area also known as Judea (hint!) and Samaria. But in his statement upon departure he mainly talked about how he was looking forward to meeting his new colleague Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. He also mentioned Benyamin Netanyahu in this context, but hardly anyone believes Maas is actually looking forward to talking to him.
In May, Maas teamed up with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader who was elected 14 years ago for four years, who openly supports terrorists who murder Israeli civilians, and who is said to have been involved in the Munich Massacre during the Olympics in 1972, for a joint statement. The annexation plans were “noted with grave concern”, Abbas and Maas said. This is the useless message Maas is now bringing to Israel.
A positive aspect Maas did mention was that Germany would continue supporting Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Considering its history, it’s the least Germany can do. Recently, Germany helped flying Israeli tourists home after they were stuck in exotic countries during the beginning of the Corona crisis. The Israelis will likely thank him.
With his truly impressive speeches during the commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, at the former death camp itself, at Yad Vashem and at the Berlin Bundestag, Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently showed the Israelis the positive side of the relations between the two countries.
Another positive sign: Germany finally outlawed the terror organization Hezbollah, after it had been pressured to do so by both Israel and the U.S., for a long time. But this step did not resolve all the BS Germany pulls when it comes to Israel.
After his short visit to Israel, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is scheduled to visit Jordan, “where he will probably find even stronger words against Israel’s planned annexation”, as The Times of Israel accurately noted.