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Israel ‘exploiting’ German friendship: govt insider

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Israel ‘exploiting’ German friendship: govt insider
Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: DPA
08:46 CEST+02:00
A leading member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has accused Israel of exploiting German friendship, as Spiegel claimed Berlin is becoming ‘sceptical’ about its relationship with the Jewish state.

But. a senior Israeli official said Sunday that ties with Berlin remained "good" following the report about diplomatic tensions with Germany, considered to be the Jewish state's main European ally.

"Relations between Israel and Germany are, and will continue to be, close and good," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official was responding to an article in German weekly Der Spiegel on "increasing scepticism in Berlin about German-Israeli friendship", which made headlines in Israel on Sunday.

"The perception has been growing in the German government that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is exploiting our friendship," Der Spiegel quoted Rolf Mutzenich, a leading member of the Social Democrats (SDP), as saying.

The SDP a member of the coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Der Spiegel noted that Germany had supported a European Union resolution condemning Israeli settlements as "illegal under international law" despite Netanyahu's "pleas" to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also an SDP member.

"It seems the statements are an internal German attempt to attack Merkel for her close relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu," the Israeli official told AFP.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union is generally considered to be closer to Israel than the SDP.

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