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West German Leader Says ‘special Relationship’ with Israel is Obsolete

The Secretary General of the Free Democratic Party believes that West Germany’s “special relationship” with Israel has become obsolete and should be replaced by a relationship based on the democratic institutions the two countries hold in common. Martin Bangemann, who just returned from a visit to Israel, said he discussed this and other points of German-Israeli relations with Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon.

Bangemann also said that West Germany “should take a more realistic attitude toward the Palestine Liberation Organization,” He said that while Israel was justified in rejecting any international recognition of the PLO as long as Yasir Arafat refuses to recognize Israel, “a word of clarification from Arafat” on this subject would ensure the PLO of observer status at the planned European-Arab dialogue on future relations with Israel.

Regarding West Germany’s special relationship with the Jewish State, stemming from the Nazi past, Bangemann said that “a moral obligation to maintain a special relationship based on the past” was “inadequate and fragile.” He said efforts should be made to put German-Israeli policy on the basis of what the two countries had in common, such as similar democratic constitutions and support for Israel’s right to exist. The maintenance of special relations was “correct and reasonable” in the past but in the future this could become merely a “hollow phrase,” Bangemann said.

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