Germany’s chancellor is reassuring Israel of her nation’s unwavering commitment to the country’s security.
Angela Merkel’s said in her weekly podcast released Saturday that peace talks with the Palestinians toward a two-state solution should be resumed as soon as possible. She added that “Germany will always stand by Israel” when it comes to guaranteeing its safety.
Merkel’s message comes two days after Israel suffered a symbolic defeat when an overwhelming majority of United Nations member states endorsed an upgrade to non-member observer state status for the Palestinian Authority, implicitly backing demands for sovereignty over lands Israel captured in 1967.
Germany, which many currently consider to be Israel’s closest European ally, abstained in the vote, which irked both Israel and the Palestinians.
Merkel will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in Berlin.
Earlier Saturday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague harshly criticized Israel for announced plans to build 3,000 housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He called on Israeli leaders to reverse the decision.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also blasted the decision to expand settlements, saying Friday, “these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace.”