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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Angela Merkel’

Iran Nuclear Deal Looking Unlikely, Says Merkel

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

A deal to freeze or roll back Iran’s nuclear development program is looking unlikely as a final deadline for talks approaches.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin Tuesday during his state visit to the country the current reality shows no promise of a deal between world powers and Tehran. She added that Iran’s nuclear technology has advanced considerably over the last decade, but said if a comprehensive agreement was reached, it might prevent further development.

Merkel also told Rivlin that Germany remains completely committed to the safety and security of the State of Israel; a diplomatic relationship that has lasted 50 years, officially as of this week.

Both leaders stressed their mutual regard and friendship for each other in their meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, despite differences of opinion on what do regarding Iran.

In his response, Israel’s president said that tougher sanctions are likely to prove more effective in controlling Iran’s race towards the bomb than the current measures that are in place.

Rivlin added that if attacked, Israel reserves the right to defend herself to the best of her ability.

Why sell German arms to Israel?

At a visit to a school in Berlin prior to her meeting with Israel’s president, Merkel was questioned by a student over Germany’s decision to continue to sell arms to the Jewish State.

Merkel answered that Germany is obligated to defend Israel because six million Jews lost their lives under the Nazi regime during World War II.

The question, however, reflects a growing anti-Zionist trend in Germany that one can see in the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents in the country.

The chancellor told the student that Germany continues to believe in a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. She added that she would raise the issue with Israel’s president – which she did – but made it clear that the issue of Israel-PA politics was separate and apart from that of Israel’s defense.

“We sell weapons to Israel, which is often under attack, because we believe that Israel must have the ability to defend itself,” she said.

Earlier this week, Israel and Germany signed an agreement for the purchase from Germany of four new naval vessels to protect Israel’s Mediterranean offshore oil and gas rigs. The reciprocal deal also includes a purchase from Israel of military hardware; most likely that with which the vessels will be equipped before they are delivered.

Israeli Man Identified Among Passengers of Crashed Germanwings Plane

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

A 39-year-old Israeli businessman was among the 150 people killed when a Germanwings Airbus A320 plane crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday morning. Eyal Baum of Hod HaSharon was living in Barcelona and had been commuting back and forth to do business in Germany.

It was Baum’s family who had alerted Israel’s foreign ministry to his presence on the flight, having called to report that Baum, who had business in Dusseldorf, was scheduled to board the flight from Barcelona.

Tragedy struck as French air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft at an altitude of around 6,500 feet, where it crashed in a remote mountainous area between Digne and Barcelonnette, killing all 150 people aboard. Flight 4U 9525 was flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. Six crew members and 16 children were among the dead, officials said.

The low-cost Germanwings carrier is wholly owned by Lufthansa and has an excellent safety record with no previously reported accidents. The aircraft that crashed was 24 years old, however. One of the black boxes has already been found and was to be examined immediately, according to the French interior minister.

French police said search teams would stay overnight on site at altitude, and that it would likely take “days” to recover the bodies due to harsh weather, difficult terrain and snow.

Germanwings managing director Thomas Winkelman told reporters the plane began its rapid descent just one minute after reaching its cruising altitude, and continued to lose altitude for eight minutes. The aircraft lost contact with French air traffic controllers at 10:53 am local time.

The cause of the crash is not known; nor did the plane send out a distress signal, according to a report by the BBC.

Gilbert Sauvan, a member of the local council, told Les Echos newspaper, “The largest debris is the size of a car,” further deepening the mystery of why the plane went down without warning in reportedly good weather.

“This is the hour in which we all feel deep sorrow,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking to reporters at an initial briefing. Merkel added that she intended to travel to the crash site.

So far, “There is no indication of a nexus to terrorism at this time,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan told Fox News.

Israel Ambassador to Germany Politely Urges Jews to Leave on Aliyah

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Israel Ambassador to Germany, Yaakov Hadas-Handelsman, has joined Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in politely urging European Jews to “consider Israel your home.”

Speaking in an interview published Sunday in the Tagesspiegel daily, published in Berlin, the ambassador said he “does not envy any Jew living in Europe today.”

He said that those who feel unsafe in light of the recent deadly attacks aimed against Jews in various countries should feel welcome to come to Israel “at any time.”

Hadas-Handelsman had especially high praise for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel for making it clear that “it is not normal for synagogues and Jewish schools to need police protection.”

Last July, a synagogue in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia which originally was burned down during Kristallnacht but was subsequently rebuilt was firebombed.

Anti-Semitism in the country in general is on the rise, according to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, as it is in other countries across Europe.

In October 2014, the ‘Die Rechte’ political faction wrote to Mayor Ullrich Sierau in the city of Dortmund, demanding to know the exact number and addresses of all the Jews, saying the information was “relevant for our political work.”

The demand was refused and the letter was passed to the Interior Ministry of the State of North-Rhine-Westphalia, which is “looking at ways to legally ban the party,” whose numbers are growing, according to the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA).

Obama, Merkel Won’t ‘Allow Borders of Europe To Be Redrawn by Barrel of a Gun’

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed Monday they would stand together in the battle to restrain Russia from swallowing European territory again.

Speaking with reporters following a meeting Monday at the Oval Office, Obama said he was “very encouraged about the extent to which we’ve been able to maintain U.S.-European unity on this issue.

“We are in absolute agreement that the 21st century cannot have us stand idle and allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn by the barrel of a gun,” Obama said.

But the president added there were “tactical disagreements” on how to proceed, should diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis between pro-Russia separatists and Ukraine.

With the suggestion that military aid to Ukraine could be considered, “The possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that’s being examined,” Obama said.

No decision has yet been made about that choice, however, which Merkel opposes.

“I’ve always said I don’t see a military solution in this conflict but we have to put all our efforts behind a diplomatic solution,” she said, speaking in German. “But if, at a certain point in time one has to say that a success is not possible, even if one puts every effort into it, then the United States and Europe have to sit together and try and explore further possibilities, what one can do.”

Talks in Munich and Kiev proved fruitless last week. A new attempt will be made this Wednesday in Minsk.

Western Leaders Head to Ukraine to Try for Peace with Russia

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all intend to try and make peace between Ukraine and Russia this week.

Kerry is already in Ukraine to show America’s support for the Kiev government.

Hollande told international media Thursday in Paris that he and Merkel would head first to Kiev and then to Moscow on Friday to present Russian President Vladimir Putin with a proposal “based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

NATO, meanwhile, is unveiling details of a plan to bolster its military presence in eastern Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis, according to the BBC. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told the news service it will be the biggest reinforcement of its collective defense since the end of the Cold War, centering on a “spearhead” force of up to 5,000 troops with lead units able to deploy within two days. A network of command centers is being established in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, Stoltenberg said, in response to “the aggressive actions we have seen from Russia, violating international law and annexing Crimea.”

The French president described the months-long conflict with pro-Russia rebels that wreaked havoc in Ukraine as a full-fledged war. “Ukraine is at war. Heavy weapons are being used and civilians are being killed daily,” Hollande said.

Kerry told the BBC in Kiev that the U.S. wants to see a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but will not close its eyes to Russian aggression.

“We want a diplomatic resolution but we cannot close our eyes to tanks that are crossing the border from Russia and coming into Ukraine,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

More than 5,000 people have died in the fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebel troops, some of which include Russian “volunteers,” since April 2014. The eastern Ukraine cities of Donetsk and Lugansk are both under rebel control.

Berlin Won’t Name German Companies Involved in Syria’s C-Weapons Program

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Berlin steadfastly refuses to reveal the names of German companies who helped Syria develop its chemical weapons program according to a new report published this week by Der Spiegel. The information was made available in documents that were declassified after a 30 year embargo.

The list of firms involved in the program was handed over to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government coalition 16 months ago by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.” Last year the OPCW organized and helped destroy Syria’s chemical weapons – those that were uncovered, that is – together with experts from the United Nations.

But 16 months later, Merkel has done nothing with the list, saying that publicizing the names would “significantly impair foreign policy interests and thus the welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

The Merkel government added that doing so would be similar to releasing “trade secrets” and therefore constitute a violation of Germany’s constitution.

According to a lengthy report in Der Spiegel, however, the government did not need the OPCW list to know that German firms were involved in the Syrian chemical weapons program.

Apparently the government-funded Institute for Contemporary History published an inventory dating back to 1984 including a government document with names of companies suspected of supplying the Syrian chemical weapons program.

The release may have been accidental; it was a memo regarding the Dec. 6, 1984 visit to a deupty section head in the German Foreign Ministry by then-Israeli Ambassador to Germany Yitzhak Ben-Ari.

The Israeli official brought with him “intelligence service findings” which showed that since the mid-1970s scientists had been working on producing chemical weapons for Syria, “disguised as agricultural and medical research.”

Included were the glass producer Schott, laboratory equipment producer Kolb, technology company Heraeus, the former Hoechst subsidiary Riedel-de-Haen, pharmaceutical company Merck and the company Gerrit van Delden.

The top secret program was being carried out in the chemistry department at the UNESCO-funded Centre d’Etudes et des Recherches Scientifiques in Damascus. A pilot facility was already built. Contracts were already signed for three production lines and Ben-Ari believed that within the year, Syria would have the capacity to produce 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) of sarin – enough to kill several million people.

On December 12, 1984, a representative of the U.S. State Department told the German Embassy in Washington that Karl Kolb GmbH & Co. KG, from the town of Dreiech in Hesse, had delivered “chemical research and production equipment for the manufacture of large quantities of nerve gas” to Iraq.

At that time, Dictator Saddam Hussein was busy building “the most modern chemical weapons factory of its time,” disguised as a pesticide factory, according to international experts who testified in 2004, Der Spiegel reports. Though only Kolb is mentioned in the files, it turns out that a related firm, Pilot Plant GmbH, delivered four facilities at a total cost of 7.5 million Deutsche marks.

American officials were trying to pressure then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher to force Kolb to withdraw its technicians and “via pressure on the company prevent Iraq from producing C-weapons.”

Germany’s long-standing love affair with chemical weapons was notorious: the Nazis had used hydrocyanic acid, manufactured by German chemical companies, to murder inmates in the death camps during the Holocaust. Millions died, including six million Jews.

As it turns out, Kohl and Genscher did indeed promise to curb the companies and issued orders to that effect. Foreign Ministry internal memos clearly showed the “minister places high value on a complete investigation” and demanded “assurances that nothing more will be delivered” to Samarra.

Angela Merkel Adds Germany’s Voice to Condemnations

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has added her voice to the chorus of world leaders who have weighed in with condemnations following the discovery of the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16 and Gilad Sha’ar, 16, who were murdered by their terrorist captors.

Merkel said she was “shocked” by the murders, calling it a “detestable act for which there is no excuse,” according to her spokesperson Steffen Seibert. He added the chancellor’s thoughts were with the families and friends of the teens.

The boys were kidnapped on June 12 while hitchhiking home for the Sabbath from their studies at yeshiva in Gush Etzion.

Initial forensic examination of their bodies indicates they were murdered shortly after they were kidnapped.

Their bodies were found in a cave located in a field near the Palestinian Authority Arab village of Halhul, just north of Hevron, in Judea.

Local Arab residents spent the day in fierce clashes with IDF soldiers and other security forces searching for the teens – clearly aware of what they would eventually find in their midst.

The Arabs hurled rocks and white paint at the windshield and windows of the IDF humvee ambulance that came to carry the boys’ bodies out of the area.

The clashes were similar to lethal road terror attacks visited upon drivers who travel on Highway 60, the main artery running from southern Judea north through Jerusalem and into Samaria.

The attackers did not succeed in distracting the IDF soldier driving the ambulance from successfully transporting his precious passengers out of the area and straight to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/angela-merkel-adds-germanys-voice-to-condemnations/2014/07/01/

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