In Jerusalem, Merkel says Palestinians must accept Israel as Jewish state

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday underlined her recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, indicating that she supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s view that the Palestinians, too, should accept this definition in an eventual peace agreement.

At a joint press conference in Jerusalem, Merkel said she plans to call Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and ask him several questions about the peace process, including about his policies vis-a-vis Gaza. She endorsed the two-state solution, but also acknowledged that there are “many other” possible ways to solve the conflict.

Merkel stressed her absolute commitment to Israel’s security, saying that she agrees with Netanyahu about the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities. At the same time, she said Jerusalem and Berlin disagree on the best way to achieve their common goal.

Responding to a question by The Times of Israel, Merkel said that she discussed with Netanyahu Israel’s recently passed Jewish nation-state law because she remains “somewhat worried” about the democratic rights of the country’s non-Jewish minority.

“There was a series of internal discussions in Israel about this. It’s not like this was the most uncontroversial proposed legislation ever, so I asked several questions,” Merkel said, speaking in German.

“And yet, we recognize the Jewish state. And if there is supposed to be peace, an enduring peace, between Israelis and Palestinians, then of course it cannot be that all states say Israel should be a Jewish state, with democratic rights for minorities that live here, but the Palestinians don’t say it,” she went on.

Read More: Times of Israel