RAMALLAH, October 3 (JMCC) - German chancellor Angela Merkel was outraged when Israel announced construction in the settlement of Gilo just hours after she had asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a quiet moratorium, reports Haaretz
Having supported Israel in diplomatic efforts to block Palestinians' request for statehood at the United Nations last last month, Germany was working with the Quartet to restart negotiations.
Merkel phoned [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas Monday to demand that he immediately return to the negotiating table.
When Merkel asked Abbas what it would take for him to resume talks with the Israelis, Abbas urged Merkel to ask Netanyahu to give the Germans or the Americans a guarantee to freeze construction in the settlements for a three-month period, during which talks on borders and security could take place.
I don't need him to say so publicly, I need him not to embarrass us, Abbas told Merkel. Shortly after the conversation the message was conveyed to Netanyahu, however the latter did not respond.
One day after Merkel spoke to Abbas, she found out that Israel had approved the Gilo construction project. In what was described as a furious phone call, she spoke with Netanyahu on Friday.
Immediately after Merkel's phone call to Netanyahu, her bureau reported to the media on the content of the conversation and released a statement from which it could only be understood that Merkel had admonished the prime minister.