Scheel Denies ‘special Relationship’ Between Bonn and Israel

Political observers here expressed surprise today over a statement by Foreign Minister Walter Scheel denying that a “special relationship” exists between West Germany and Israel. Scheel’s remarks, contained in an interview published today in the official publication, “Deutschland-Berichte” (Germany Reports), was seen as a reversal of a position that has been frequently reiterated in the past by Chancellor Willy Brandt and by Scheel himself.

Scheel was asked in the interview if the special relationship with Israel has ceased to exist. He replied, “There is no special relationship between Israel and Germany. There do exist good relations between the two countries stemming from the special historical background. These relations will be maintained by us and developed.”

Observers said Scheel’s denial indicated that the Arab countries may have finally achieved success in their efforts to reverse the “special relationship” policy towards Israel. Those efforts were pursued even before the renewal of diplomatic relations between Bonn and several Arab countries. But since relations have been resumed with Egypt, Lebanon and Algeria, the Arabs may have succeeded in making their point, the observers said.

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