BERLIN (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his Cabinet will travel to Germany next week — a visit that comes after Berlin abstained in a UN vote on the recognition of a Palestinian nonmember observer state.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, says the German leader will have dinner with Netanyahu on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s annual meeting of Cabinet members.

Germany is traditionally one of Israel’s staunchest allies in Europe. It abstained in Thursday’s UN General Assembly vote — saying it feared the Palestinians’ move could further harden positions in the stalled Middle East peace process — but stopped short of voting no to their call for recognition.

Merkel said earlier this week that nothing would be gained either by unilateral Palestinian bids for recognition or by continued Israeli settlement-building.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.