Merkel begins visit to Israel and agenda includes Iran and the Palestinians

File DW

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel began a visit to Israel on Wednesday, including an agenda for her talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Neither Merkel nor Netanyahu made statements after arriving in Jerusalem. They are due to hold talks after dinner at the prime minister’s official residence but most of the activities will take place on Thursday.

Merkel and her ministers will begin their activities on Thursday with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and will hold several meetings during the day before returning to Germany in the evening.

Germany has been a party to the Iranian nuclear deal after US President Donald Trump withdrew in May. Under the deal, Tehran would lift sanctions against Tehran in return for curbing its nuclear program.

But Merkel said in Amman, Jordan’s capital in June, that European countries had concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program and called for solutions to its “aggressive tendencies” in the Middle East.

Netanyahu has repeatedly warned of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and said he would prevent the Islamic Republic from establishing its presence in Syria, arming Hezbollah and backing Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians have tried to get Merkel to convince Israel not to demolish a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah met with a German diplomat on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

According to media reports, Merkel threatened to cancel the visit if Israel demolished the village of Al Khan Red, where 180 people live. Earlier this month, the Israeli Supreme Court gave the green light to evacuate the residents after a lengthy prosecution.

The children of the village held pictures of Merkel on Tuesday and appealed to her to prevent Israeli plans.