Merkel: ‘All Iranian forces must leave Syria’
All Iranian forces must leave Syria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday, during a joint joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Speaking about the Iranian nuclear threat, Netanyahu told Merkel that it is the “billions of dollars” transferred from Europe following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which allow Iran to continue its nuclear aspirations.
“[Those] funds didn’t go to benefit Iranian citizens, but to Iran’s war machine, which is bent on conquering the entire Middle East,” Netanyahu asserted.
The Israeli premiere thanked his German counterpart for her strong stance against anti-semitism, as well as her standing up for Israel’s security.
“Anti-Semitism throughout the ages has always been preceded by slander, [but] what has happened now is that the slanders that were directed against the Jewish people are now directed against the Jewish state,” said Netanyahu, adding a call to combat anti semitism “not only when it’s directed at individuals, but also when it is directed at the Jewish State.”
Speaking about the security situation on the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu blamed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of attempting to drag both sides in Gaza into war by perpetuating the humanitarian crisis in the Strip. According to Netanyahu, Abbas purposely delayed the transfer of funds from the PA to Gaza in order to put pressure on Hamas. “As a result, pressure is put on Hamas, and Hamas attacks Israel,” said Netanyahu, also adding a message to Hamas by which, if they think they can attack Israel as a result of a crisis, “They are making a very big mistake, and will be dealt a very severe blow.”
Merkel also addressed the situation between Israel and the Palestinians, telling Netanyahu that Germany “prefers the two-state solution,” over any other possible solutions.
Earlier, Netanyahu and Merkel attended a roundtable meeting with Israeli and German business people, where the sides discussed the potential for bilateral cooperation in innovation by creating joint platforms for the development of technologies in the fields of – inter alia – water, green energy and agriculture.
The meeting was attended by Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier and Israeli and German businesspeople in the fields of – inter alia – agriculture, communications, cyber, automotive technology, medical instruments and pharmaceuticals.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to have a meeting between Israeli and German innovators. The last meeting that Chancellor Merkel and I had we decided to have this roundtable and have this delegation meet with Israeli counterparts. I think, just from a few examples that we saw here, I think there are tremendous opportunities,” Netanyahu said at the meeting, adding that “Germany is one of the world’s great economies. It has great science, great innovation, great industry and a wealth of experience.”