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Wulff demands peace engagement from Israel

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Wulff demands peace engagement from Israel
Photo: DPA
07:10 CET+01:00
German President Christian Wulff demanded during a visit to Israel on Monday night that the Jewish state show “constructive engagement” on peace negotiations with its Palestinian neighbours.

After talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Wulff spoke out on the touchy issues of Israeli settlement-building and the blockade of Gaza.

A lasting and equitable peace was vital to Israel's own security interests, he said. A “constructive spirit among all participants” as well as a long-term view was needed to keep the peace process going, he said.

Thanks to a “bridge of trust” between Germany and Israel, both countries could raise sensitive questions with one another, he added. Sixty-five years after the Holocaust, Germany is among Israel's strongest supporters, though the Gaza blockade, building of Israeli settlements and the military raid on the "Free Gaza" flotilla in May, in which nine activists were killed, have led German leaders to at least gently criticise the Jewish state led by hard-liner Netanyahu.

Netanyahu stressed that Germany could play a key role in Middle East peace and support Israel in its “coping with enormous demands.” It was in Israel's interest that Germany help the Palestinians with infrastructure-building.

Referring to the latest Wikileaks revelations, Netanyahu pointed out that other states in the region were worried by the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Saudia Arabia was revealed by the leaks to have urged the US to attack Iran if it did not quit its nuclear development programme.

Wulff was due Tuesday to travel through the Palestinian territories and to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

DAPD/dw

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