Germany's Merkel tours Holocaust museum on Israel visit

As Merkel comes to Israel Netanyahu seeks tougher Iran policy

As Merkel comes to Israel Netanyahu seeks tougher Iran policy

The highly-contested nation-state law passed this summer speaks of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jews and declares the Jewish people's "unique" right to self-determination within its borders.

German chancellor, Angela Merkel is due to arrive in Israel on Wednesday evening, for an official visit to discuss bilateral relations between Germany and Israel.

Merkel's talks with Netanyahu are expected to focus on the Iran nuclear deal, restarting the talks with the Palestinians, and the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar, which Israel plans to demolish shortly after Merkel's visit.

But the two leaders are also expected to discuss geopolitical issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the U.S. administration's increasingly tough policies vis-à-vis Ramallah, and the Iran nuclear deal and European efforts to salvage the pact and continue trading with the Islamic Republic.

"We must do everything for Iran not to have nuclear weapons", she insisted.

Germany, like other signatories to the deal, says it is working as intended by preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for now.

Netanyahu also blamed Palestinian Authroity (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' government in the West Bank for crippling sanctions in Gaza, which he said contributed to Hamas' desperate border attacks against Israel.

"Iran can not be next to Israel's border in Syria in the Golan", Merkel said in a joint conference with Netanyahu during her visit to the Jewish state on Thursday.

"I'm sorry to say that I don't see this attitude from the Palestinian Authority", continued Netanyahu, touching on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Netanyahu has urged European nations to follow the lead of US President Donald Trump and withdraw from the accord with Israel s major enemy. On Thursday, however, she said the issue was "an Israeli decision" and strongly denied reports that she had threatened to call off the trip if the demolition went forward.

Israel was established three years after the end of World War II, and the German government has paid billions in reparations to Holocaust survivors and positioned itself as a leader in combatting anti-Semitism.

"Khan al-Ahmar", participants chanted as they held signs that read "#SAVEMYSCHOOL".

Merkel wrote in the Yad Vashem guest book: "Eighty years ago, on Kristallnacht, the Jews in Germany suffered from hatred and violence that they had never known before".

Earlier in the day, the German leader vowed to prevent a nuclear Iran as she spoke with Haifa University students in Jerusalem on Thursday morning.

While Israel and the USA have accused Iran of attempting to destabilise the Middle East by supporting hostile movements, developing ballistic weapons and secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Germany has been one of the parties involved in trying to salvage the nuclear agreement that was scrapped by the United States earlier this year.

"We can learn a lot in many areas", said Merkel, who is accompanied on her visit by a delegation of leading German businesspeople.

She will also hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and attend inter-governmental talks with Netanyahu and Israeli and German ministers.

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