In a resolution passed today by the German Bundestag, a clear majority of parliamentarians around the grand coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD once again emphasized that Israel’s security is part of Germany’s reason of state. In order to revive the peace process in the Middle East, the MPs are relying on new impulses through stronger European engagement and calling on the German government to work to expand cooperation with Israel. The parliamentarians explicitly refer to the EU-Israel Association Agreement and demand a further expansion of the partnership.
The decision of the Bundestag makes it clear that the MPs are aware of Germany’s special responsibility towards Israel. The adopted text is marked by concerns about the security of Israel. In the opinion of the parliamentarians, an extension of Israeli sovereignty in parts of the West Bank would not only permanently disrupt cooperation with the Palestinians. Corresponding unilateral steps could also help jeopardize the cooperation with Egypt and Jordan that has grown over decades. The positive relationship between Israel and the Gulf States could also potentially suffer.
At the same time, the party groups involved emphasize that discussions about unilateral sanctions or threats of sanctions against Israel would have no constructive effect on an Israeli-Palestinian settlement or the process of mutual understanding.
Against this background, the parliamentarians also appeal to the Palestinian leadership to finally hold free parliamentary elections and thus regain democratic legitimacy. The Palestinian side must not only renounce violence and calls for violence, but also clearly condemn them. The Palestinian Authority desist from efforts to unilaterally recognize Palestinian statehood in the interests of the peace process.
Today’s Bundestag resolution clearly shows that Germany is willing to not only be a spectator in the Middle East conflict but that it also wants to use its influence constructively and purposefully. This commitment is guided by Germany’s historic responsibility to Israel and the security of Israeli citizens. It is an important signal to the new Israeli government to see Germany as dialogue partner. In addition, the decision helps to ensure that the relationship between the EU and Israel is not damaged and, with a possible revival of the Association Agreement, is even placed on a new footing.