Reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatened to cancel her trip if Israel had gone ahead with the demolition of the occupied Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar are "fake news", the premier said yesterday.
It had widely been reported that Merkel had told Israel not to meet its 1 October deadline for the demolition of the occupied West Bank village or she would once again reschedule her planned visit.
However, during her address to the students, Merkel dismissed the claims saying it was "fake news". "It's really not true. It is the decision of Israel and it's not related to our meeting," she said. "I heard about it and I said to myself, 'Oh, what a lie, in a second we'll get to Israel and show everyone that it's fake news.'"
Yesterday, Israel's Culture Minister, Miri Regev, warned Merkel not to bring up the fate of Khan Al-Ahmar during her visit and to "deal with internal problems of her own country".
Merkel also vowed to do all she can to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, as she addressed students of Haifa University in Jerusalem today.
Speaking at the ceremony in which she received an Honorary Doctorate Degree, Merkel said that "the threat to Israel is greater due to what is happening in Syria now."
"We must do everything for Iran not to have nuclear weapons," she insisted. She also hinted that harsher measures and even force might be a more effective way, saying "the question we are discussing is: Is an agreement the right way to prevent nuclear weapons or is it too weak?"
Germany was one of the countries which contributed to the Iranian Nuclear Deal in 2015, which aimed to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons in return for aid, investment, and the lifting of sanctions on the country. That deal and the hopes that it raised fell apart in 2018, however, when the United States under President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it.
Merkel arrived in Israel yesterday evening along with members of her cabinet on a two-day official visit, which had been delayed by a year and a half due to disagreements and condemnation of Israel's policies on settlement and its treatment of Palestinians.