Monday, December 03, 2012

Germany Shines a Light on the Harp of Darkness

When it came right down to it, Germany balked at voting "no" on Palestinian recognition in the UN General Assembly and, instead, merely abstained.   Netanyahu was not amused.

What transpired between Angie Merkel and Benny Netanyahu may shed some useful light on how Israel interacts with allies, like Canada, expecting them to do its bidding.

It was one of the most unpleasant conversations that Christoph Heusgen had ever been required to have with Jaakov Amidror. On Wednesday evening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign policy adviser told his Israeli counterpart that Germany would abstain in the following day's vote at the United Nations General Assembly on whether to grant the Palestinians the status of a "non-member observer state." Merkel's government had just decided, he said. 

Amidror made it clear what he thought about the Germans' decision. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government had been expecting Berlin to show its customary support for Israel by voting "no." The Israelis viewed [the German] announcement as an affront

Germany's stance on this issue shows just how deeply frustrated its government is with the Netanyahu government's policies. The UN vote was a defeat for Israel. In the end, 138 of the 193 UN member states supported the Palestinians' petition, including France and 13 other European Union member states. Germany's abstention weighed particularly heavy because it meant that Canada and the United States were the only major Western nations to vote on Israeli's side.

 ...In mid-November, Merkel was still of the opinion in internal deliberations that the Palestinians should be prevented from taking unilateral steps. Indeed, this was the reason her government cited when justifying its vote against the Palestinians' bid to become a full member of UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural organization, in late October 2011.

But in the end, the Israeli government's tactical maneuvering prompted Merkel to back away from this hard line. When it became apparent that a series of EU member states would support the Palestinians' bid for observer-state status, the Israelis asked Germany to push all of its fellow EU states to abstain. Up until that point, Netanyahu had pressured Merkel's government to gather as many "no" votes as possible within the EU.

[As the vote neared] the question was how the Germans should act. From the Israeli perspective, the answer was clear: Berlin would simply vote "no." But German officials had a different take on things. Merkel was upset that the Israelis were treating Germany's vote like a bargaining chip.

The chancellor was particularly annoyed because Netanyahu had shown himself completely unwilling to make concessions. On several occasions, Merkel had urged him to at least make a gesture on the issue of settlement construction in order to send out a signal to the Palestinians. Doing so would have made it easier for Merkel to campaign for the Israeli position. But Netanyahu stubbornly ignored her wish.

So Angie Merkel, unlike Stevie Harper, wasn't willing to be Benny Netanyahu's bitch.


LeDaro said...

Netanyahu must have tried guilt-trip on Merkel – it is Western guilt which resulted in the creation of Israel. Before that Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together for centuries without much problems. It is the creation of Israel which started this unending fiasco.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's pretty obvious, LD, that Beeny figured Merkel existed to do his bidding. He was wrong with Merkel but he had Harper right.

Anonymous said...

Can't remember now where I read the story on Israel's nuclear subs that Germany built for them. Basically the Israeli's guilted the Germans into not only supplying them, but also a financing arrangement that pretty much ends up with the Subs being a gift.

It's an interesting tale.

Christian said...

Hey MoS, great to see you so active.

When the vote went down, my blood bubbled a little. I wanted to share my thoughts, but simply didn't have the time for a reasonable post. I did have the title figured out though.

steve harper ~ israel's bitch.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon. I wrote of the Dolphin subs that Israel modified to handle nuclear-armed cruise missiles. The post was from July, 2010

@ Chris - don't you find the silence from the Libs and New Dems troubling?

Christian said...

Absolfuckingutely, MoS! The fact that politicians from any stripe MUST not ever criticize the state of israel, makes me sick.

We were once a beacon of hope, of fairness around the world. Where are we now?

Oppressing human beings because any criticism of israel is anti~semetic!

Fuck me! This isn't the Canada I grew up in.