Ahead of his departure for Tel Aviv, Foreign Minister Steinmeier commented as follows on his talks in Israel and the Palestinian territories:
We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel. Our relations with Israel are good and marked by a spirit of mutual trust. Following the general elections, I want to resume talks with the new Israeli Government.
The Middle East is a region blighted by crises and conflicts which, as foreign policy hotspots, require our full attention. Everything – the civil war in Syria, our negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme, the fight against ISIS as well as the Middle East conflict – is closely interlinked. Progress in the Middle East peace process continues to be absolutely crucial if there is to be a détente in the entire region.
The situation in Gaza is especially precarious: we have to make swift progress in reconstruction and economic development in order to give people real prospects for a better future, and Gaza must not be used again as a launching pad for attacks on Israel.
In the new political situation following the elections and the formation of a new government in Israel, my talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah will provide me with an opportunity to form an impression about the prospects for progress in the Middle East peace process in the foreseeable future.