Merkel denies threatening to nix trip if West Bank village demolished

German Chancellor Angela Merkel dismisses claims she threatened to nix her visit to Israel if it demolishes a Bedouin village in the West Bank went ahead.

“It’s absolutely not true. It’s an Israeli decision and it has nothing to do with our meeting,” Merkel says during a ceremony where she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa.

“Reports of this were fake news, it is an internal Israeli matter and we do not interfere in it, even if I might have criticism,” she adds.

Israel has received criticism from European countries over its plans to bulldoze Khan Al-Ahmar and residents of the village have called on Merkel to pressure Israel not to go through with the demolition.

The German chancellor also applauds Russia for working to distance Iranian forces from the border between Israel and Syria, where she says the conflict between the two “has become even more acute.”

She says she’ll discuss the Iran nuclear deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who unlike Merkel is strongly opposed to the accord.

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