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'Support for Israel in Gaza war has damaged Germany's relations with Arab world'

April 17, 2024 at 3:37 pm

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) receives his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog at the Presidential Bellevue Palace, in Berlin on February 16, 2024 [ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images]

Germany’s staunch support for Israel in the Gaza war has harmed relations with the Arab world and it is “definitely a problem”, a leading German expert on the Middle East said on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The assessment is that Germany’s relations with the Arab world have certainly been damaged, ever since the World Cup in Qatar,” said Andreas Reinicke, Director of the German Orient Institute at a news conference in Berlin.

Germany has faced international criticism, notably in Arab countries, for its one-sided support of Israel in Gaza, especially when it comes to its arms deliveries to the Jewish State.

Asked about Germany’s ongoing crackdown on pro-Palestine events in the country, Reinicke said the feedback that he received on this issue was in fact “very bad”.

“Ultimately it is understood as a restriction on expression of opinion and I do not believe that this supports an image of a cosmopolitan Germany in the Arab region,” he said.

Germany was widely condemned for breaking up the Palestine Congress over the weekend as it also barred several high-profile speakers from even entering Germany to address the meeting in Berlin.

Meanwhile, Reinicke called for stepped-up international diplomatic efforts to resolve the Iran-Israel conflict and the war in Gaza.

Neither the conflict in Gaza nor the Iran-Israel crisis can be won militarily. “The only way to get security for Israel and the other states here is through peace,” Reinicke said.

He urged the establishment of a “collective security system” in the Middle East that would take into account the security interests of all countries in the region.

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