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Trumpeting ‘Unbreakable’ Ties, Germany Still Presses Israel On Palestinian Statehood

Deep and “unbreakable” ties between Germany and Israel are part of Germany’s national identity and pillars of its foreign policy, but Berlin will continue to press for a two-state solution, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday.

“With respect to the Middle East conflict, our solidarity with Israel also means working to ensure that Israel and Palestine can live side by side in dignity and peace,” Gabriel said in a statement released as he departed for the region.

“Only a two-state solution will be sustainable,” he said.

Gabriel’s visit, his first since becoming foreign minister in January, comes as German concerns about Israeli settlement building have dragged ties to their lowest point in years.

German governments have made strong relations with Israel a top priority ever since World War Two, going to great lengths to make amends for the killing of six million Jews by the Nazis.

Gabriel will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on Monday and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel and Palestinian government officials, his spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters on Friday.

“We do not believe that the current situation is sustainable,” Schaefer said. “We think it’s necessary to make another attempt to revive talks and negotiations in the framework of the Middle East process.”

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