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US and Germany pressure Netanyahu to halt plans for IDF training academy in Jerusalem

February 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been forced to halt the construction of a new IDF training academy on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem after American and German army officers warned that they would not cooperate with the IDF’s military academy if Israel moved its institutions across the Green Line to the lands occupied since 1967.

Israeli political sources explained that the United States (US) and Germany issued the ultimatum to Netanyahu’s government during the early planning stages of the project, which aims to establish a new IDF military academy in Mount Scopus, close to the Hebrew University. The plan was proposed several years ago and approved in July 2012, but even though the deadline for submitting objections passed more than one year ago, the project has since been in limbo.

The proposed IDF military academy on Mount Scopus is part of Israel’s plan to transfer its government institutions to occupied Jerusalem in order to strengthen the Israeli presence in the holy city. The site is symbolically important as it overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem.

Maariv added that the Israeli army had been hoping to move three military institutions to the proposed IDF academy on Mount Scopus that offer courses for a number of foreign officers and generals, who usually constitute around 15 per cent of the academy’s students. Their enrolment in the academy raises its international reputation.

However, Israel fears that if the US and Germany stop sending their officers to study in the IDF academy then other countries may soon follow suit.

According to Maariv, a senior German official said that the German stance on all buildings beyond the Green Line is known, but the US embassy in Tel Aviv refused to comment on the news.