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Health minister has ‘excellent meeting’ with prospective German chancellor

‘Anyone who supports a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians isn’t a hostile element. The exact opposite,’ says Nitzan Horowitz after talks with Olaf Scholz

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (left) meets with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in Berlin, October 27, 2021 (Via Twitter)
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (left) meets with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in Berlin, October 27, 2021 (Via Twitter)

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz met with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, the candidate to be Germany’s next chancellor, as he visited Berlin on Wednesday.

“One of the important changes that we are making in this government is the rehabilitation of ties with Europe, which were harmed in recent years,” Horowitz tweeted after their meeting. “Anyone who supports a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians isn’t a hostile element. The exact opposite. Germany and Scholz are true friends.”

Horowitz heads the left-wing Meretz party, which supports a two-state solution. Other parties in the coalition, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina, are vehemently opposed to Palestinian statehood.

Horowitz said Scholz was “impressive and deep” and called their meeting “excellent.”

Scholz heads the Social Democrats (SPD), which picked up the most seats in parliamentary elections last month. The SPD is currently holding talks with the Greens and Free Democrats on forming a government. Longtime German leader Angela Merkel did not run in the election and will step down once a new government is formed.

Olaf Scholz, top candidate for chancellor of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), holds a bunch of flowers after a press statement at the party’s headquarter in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leunter)

Germany and Israel forged strong diplomatic ties in the decades after World War II, with Berlin committed to the preservation of the Jewish state in penance for the Holocaust.

Throughout her 16 years in power, Merkel has described Israel’s national security as a crucial priority in German foreign policy and vowed continuity by future governments on a visit to Jerusalem this month.

Earlier Wednesday, the German government said it was “very concerned” by Israel’s designation of six leading Palestinian civil society groups as outlawed terrorist organizations, in a move also condemned by Horowitz’s Meretz.

Jerusalem said its decision last week was due to the groups’ alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). It accused the six of working covertly with the terror group, which pioneered plane hijackings in the 1970s to highlight the Palestinian cause and is blacklisted by several Western governments.

“We are very concerned by the Israeli decision,” a German foreign ministry spokeswoman told reporters, saying that the groups’ placement on a terror list would have “broad political, legal and financial implications” for them.

The German government routinely conducts “reviews of accusations and indications of connections of possible partners to terrorist organizations,” she added.

“We are waiting for further information from the Israeli government” on its justification for the move, the spokeswoman said.

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