Watchdog slams Germany’s vote for settlements resolution


BERLIN (JTA) — A German pro-Israel watchdog is condemning Germany’s vote for a failed U.N. Security Council resolution against Israel’s settlement policy, calling it part of a worrying trend.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has made pro-Israel policy a cornerstone of her administration, "presented herself very well initially and now is the time to remind her of what she promised and try to make her turn back," Sacha Stawski, founder of the Honestly Concerned watchdog organization, told JTA. His group is circulating a petition criticizing Germany’s stand on the resolution.

The Security Council resolution, which received the support of Germany and 13 other council members, called settlements illegal and condemned Israel for continuing to build in the West Bank. The United States, one of five permanent members of the Security Council, vetoed the resolution on Feb. 18.

Germany, which traditionally has been supportive of Israel, won a non-permanent seat on the council last fall. Merkel, whose administration openly criticized Israel’s settlement policy last year, has otherwise been viewed as a strong ally.

The resolution, though it failed in the end, is part of an alarming trend, Stawski told JTA in a telephone interview from Frankfurt. His group’s online petition criticized Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle for giving in to "a Palestinian propaganda campaign, instead of urging the Palestinians to negotiate an amicable agreement with their partner in peace talks, Israel, regarding the borders of the future Palestinian state."

Stawski told JTA that "if Germany proclaims they are a friend of Israel, then it is their job at least to prevent such a vote, or say no. … They did not even abstain."

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