Merkel cancels meeting with Israel, citing federal polls

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Berlin [Germany], Feb. 14(ANI): German Chancellor Angela Merkel has canceled a joint summit with the Israeli government, which was scheduled for May 10 in Jerusalem, citing the upcoming federal elections in September. However, Deutsche Welle citing local media reports said that Merkel the cancelled the meeting over Israel's latest legislative attempt to legalize settlement activity in the West Bank. An Israeli government spokesman confirmed the meeting had been canceled by the German side, saying it was due to the "variety of international appointments within the context of the German presidency of the G20." Although officials said the annual meeting between both governments' cabinets had been forfeited this year due to the German federal election in September, Israeli newspaper "Haaretz" reported it was also due to Merkel's alarm over the settlement legalization law. However, the daily reported that another unnamed senior Israeli official noted that the law "had not been brought up" when Berlin notified Israel of the cancelation. The law, passed by parliament last week, allows for the expropriation of private Palestinian land by retroactively legalizing 4,000 settler settlements homes. The move has been criticized by the international community for undermining a UN-backed two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.(ANI)