Israel's friendship with Germany has been damaged because of settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, Israeli newspaper Maariv said on Sunday. Describing Germany as Israel's "last friend" in Europe, Maariv said that the government in Berlin is withdrawing its historical support from the country. From now on the relationship will be based solely on "interests", it is claimed.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is in Israel to discuss the "eroded" relations between Tel Aviv and Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, is working on ways to put an end to apparently endless references to Germany's responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust.
Berlin, claimed Maariv, has been looking forward to stopping its "absolute" support for Israel as public opinion against Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories grows across Europe. Israel's ambassadors in Europe, it is said, have already discussed the claim that Israel has lost its last supporter in Europe. They said that Israeli is suffering from "complete seclusion now" and "Benjamin Netanyahu is no longer credible in Berlin."
According to Maariv, one diplomat said: "Despite Germany's candid announcement about supporting Israel, German politicians are persuaded that Germany will no longer maintain normal relations with Israel. This is because it makes a connection between peace negotiations and settlements."
Foreign Minister Steinmeier arrived in Israel on Sunday ahead of a visit by Merkel at the end of this month. Media reports said that such visits are aimed at encouraging the peace negotiations.