BONN (Aug. 22)
Pained surprise and shock dominated reactions in West Germany today to the riotous demonstrations staged last week in Jerusalem, when Dr. Rolf Pauls, West Germany’s first Ambassador to Israel, presented his credentials to President Zalman Shazar. Protesting Israelis, most of them survivors of the Nazi holocaust, clashed with police in the most violent fracas, Thursday, that led to 15 arrests and an equal number of injuries among the demonstrators and police.
One of the more notable German reactions was a statement by former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer that he was reconsidering his plans to visit Israel. Speaking in Muenster, the former Chancellor said that the tensions in Israel might cause him to postpone his intended visit next November “at the invitation of my friend, David Ben-Gurion.”
Eric Mende, West German Vice-Chancellor, and head of the Free Democratic Party, a coalition partner, told an election gathering that the Jerusalem demonstrations were a resort to “noxious Communist-Fascist methods which cannot be tolerated.” He added that the demonstrations were a “slander” against an entire generation of German nation,” and added that “people should also remember” the Allied World War II bombings of Dresden and Cologne.
Foreign Minister Gerhard Schroeder told a Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce meeting that he did not expect 100 percent of Israel’s population to agree to the exchange of Ambassadors with West Germany. He said that normalization of relations between the two nations was one of the “major tasks” of current West German foreign policy. Karl-Guenther von Hase, the West German press spokesman, expressed regret over the Jerusalem protests, and added that his Government hoped that relations with Israel would now settle down to normal conditions. West German correspondents in Israel sent back heavy coverage of Thursday’s clash, with photographs. West German television stations also gave wide coverage to the event.