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Brandt Says Israel Understands Value of ‘normal Relations’ with Germany

June 14, 1973
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Chancellor Willy Brandt believes that his visit to Israel has allayed fears in that country that West Germany was playing down the special-character of its relations with the Jewish State. In an interview published in Deutschland Bericht today, Brandt said the Israeli leaders he talked to had understood the value of “normal relations” with West, Germany in the best sense.

Brandt said that a settlement of the Middle East conflict could be reached only by the parties directly concerned. He said that West Germany could help only by objectively passing on Information and ideas. He said that German investments in Israel and relations with the European Common Market were the most important subjects he discussed with Israeli Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir.

“It is obvious that Israel, the same as other countries, should not suffer any disadvantage from an expansion of the Common Market” Brandt said. He said Israel’s citrus trade on the British market had to be taken into account, but he thought practical solutions were possible.


Brandt said he had spoken to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan mainly about Arab refugee problems and Arabs in the occupied areas. He recalled that Bonn hap often promised aid to solve these problems once a settlement is reached.

West German newspapers continued today to stress the nature of Bonn-Israel relations as reflected in Chancellor Brandt’s visit. Writing in Die Welt today, Georg Schroeder said “One hesitates to describe Brandt’s Israel visit as a complete success. It was anything but a normal state visit in view of Germans-Jewish relations, where morality has precedence over raison d’Etat.” The writer recalled Premier Golda Meir’s words: “We must look to the future in full historical responsibility without visiting the sins of the fathers on the children.” Brandt, the paper said, was able to describe his visit “as an element of finding peace with ourselves.”

Die Welt said in an editorial that Bonn’s “balanced relations” policy did not get West Germany out of the line of fire in the Middle East. Should a fanatic like Libya’s President Muammar el-Qaddafi try to block a peace settlement between Egypt and Israel, “this would produce a situation which no longer permits a policy of balanced relations,” Die Welt said.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said that Chancellor Brandt had sought understanding in Israel for the fact that West Germany would often abstain from voting in the United Nations which it joins next fall. Brandt wanted to keep his hand free and credible in the Middle East, the paper said. “A too pro-Israel line could lead to disadvantages for Israel in relations with the EEC.”

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