Germany 'on the side of Israel' over Hamas

8th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

8 March 2006, BERLIN - German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said Wednesday that Israel had the support of his country in dealing with the militant Palestinian organization Hamas.

8 March 2006

BERLIN - German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said Wednesday that Israel had the support of his country in dealing with the militant Palestinian organization Hamas.

Germany was "completely on the side of Israel," Jung said after talks with his Israeli counterpart, Shaul Mofaz, in Berlin.

Jung, however, did not refer to remarks Mofaz made to Israeli Army Radio on Tuesday that Palestinian prime minister-designate Isma'eel Haneya could be a target for assassination if his Hamas movement resumed suicide bombings in Israel.

Hamas, which won an absolute majority in the January 25 elections in the Palestinian territories and is in the process of forming a government, slammed the threats by Mofaz against Haneya as "clear and formal terrorism."

Mofaz met Jung for talks after the two men took part in a memorial service for the 56,000 Berlin Jews sent to Nazi death camps during World War II.

The two ministers laid wreaths at the "Ramp 17" memorial at Berlin's Gruenewald train station from which Jews were forced to board freight trains bound for the concentration camps.

Mofaz said that Israel would not enter into negotiations with Hamas unless it renounced terror, recognized Israel's right to exist and agreed to abide by progress made so far in the Mideast peace process.

On Friday, a Hamas delegation led by exiled leader Khaled Mashaal said after talks in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that there could be no peace unless Israel withdrew from occupied Palestinian territories.

Russian President Vladimir Putin briefed German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the talks that angered Israel and raised concern in the United States, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization and refuses to pursue any dialogue with it until it renounces violence.

Merkel told Putin by telephone there had been no change in Germany's position that Hamas must renounce violence, recognize Israel and abide by progress made in the Mideast peace talks, the German government said.

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the government in Berlin had always condemned acts of violence against Israel.

"Regardless of this we urge Israel to be aware of the consequences of their actions," and not to take any steps that could exacerbate the situation.

Following his talks in Berlin Mofaz was due to leave for Romania.

DPA

Subject: German news

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