BONN (May. 25)
West Germany may take the lead toward lifting the sanctions imposed by the European Economic Community (EEC) on Israel after it invaded Lebanon in June, 1982. Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher has privately assured Jewish leaders here that he would raise the question during a two-day meeting of the EEC Foreign Ministers in Brussels where Middle East developments will be on the agenda.
Genscher, who currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the EEC Council of Ministers, is a member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the junior partner in the coalition government led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The government has not spoken out publicly against continuing the sanctions. But official sources here have indicated that Bonn would like to have them removed and has called on its EEC partners to support such a move.
The matter is expected to be one of the main topics of discussion when Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir meets with EEC officials in Brussels. Shamir is due there Friday.
GREENS SEEKING TO REVERSE ITS ANTI-ISRAEL IMAGE
Meanwhile, the Green Party, a new political faction which won 28 seats in the Bundestag elections last March 6, is seeking to reverse the strong anti-Israel image it acquired during the war in Lebanon. Members of the party, originally a movement of ecological and anti-NATO activists, have been trying to convince visiting Israeli journalists and others that they have adopted a balanced attitude toward the Arab-Israeli conflict and that they are not anti-Jewish.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has been approached several times in recent weeks by Greens who expressed regret that some branches of the party were involved in distributing a calendar containing anti-Semitic material. Spokesman for the Greens also stress that they take a tougher position than other West German parties toward former Nazis who now hold political office. They acknowledged that a woman member of their party’s executive is a former Nazi, but said there were no grounds to force her to resign.
The Green Party published two statements on the Arab-Israel conflict, on June 25 and June 28, 1982, at the height of the war in Lebanon. The first called on the Bonn government to initiate measures by the EEC to halt “the genocide of Palestinians” and accused the U.S. and Israel of trying to resolve Middle East issues by “violence and extermination.”
The second statement demanded that Bonn suspend economic assistance to Israel as long as Israeli troops remain on Lebanese soil. It proposed that the money be made available instead “as reparations for the Lebanese and Palestinian victims of the Israeli assault.” The same statement charged that the “Holocaust victims” were becoming “Holocaust perpetrators.”