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Germany urged US to threaten Israel with UN vote

Dec. 1, 2010 1:53 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 2, 2010 11:01 A.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Two weeks before Israel froze most settlement construction in November 2009, a senior German official urged the US to threaten Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with diplomatic pressure.

German National Security Adviser Christoph Heusgen suggested that if Netanyahu did not agree to a moratorium, Washington could withdraw its support for blocking a vote on Richard Goldstone's UN fact-finding mission report at the UN Security Council, US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks say.

Heusgen met with US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon and Amb. to Germany Philip Murphy on 10 November 2009 to discuss the matter, according to a line in one of the cables first reported by the Israeli daily Haaretz. The German official is quoted in the telegram as saying that Germany believes that Netanyahu needed "to do more" to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table, the Haaretz report noted.

"With Palestinians in East Jerusalem getting notices from Israeli authorities that their houses will be destroyed, it would be 'suicide' for President Abbas to move under the current circumstances. Heusgen said he could not fathom why Netanyahu did not understand this," the cable says.

"He suggested pressuring Netanyahu by linking favorable UNSC treatment of the Goldstone Report to Israel committing to a complete stop in settlement activity."

The American officials were surprised by the proposal and said that such linkage would be counterproductive "but agreed that it was worth pointing out to the Israelis that their policy on settlements was making it difficult for their friends to hold the line in the UNSC." Heusgen said this certainly would be an issue when Netanyahu and "half of his cabinet" visited Berlin in November 2009 for bilateral talks.
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