Although, according to Germany, every state has the right to choose its own capital, it doesn’t extend the same courtesy to Israel.
Germany is refusing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Indeed, while its foreign ministry acknowledged that every country has the right to name its own capital, it said that this is not the case for Israel, insisting that the status of Jerusalem can be settled only through negotiations with the Palestinians.
“As a matter of principle, every state has the right to determine a city in its territory to be its capital,” Niels Annen, a minister of state in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, said in response to a query by a lawmaker from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party last week, The Times of Israel reported.
“Since the eastern part of Jerusalem that Israel occupied in 1967 contrary to international law is not part of Israel’s sovereign territory, the international community, including Germany, has not recognized this declaration,” he added.
He based his position on the 1980 United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) Resolution 478, which proclaimed that Israel’s declaration on united Jerusalem being its capital “constitutes a violation of international law,” as well as on clauses for the 1995 Oslo Peace Accords.
“The federal government shares the view that the status of Jerusalem, just like other final status issues, can only be settled through negotiations to be durable and acceptable,” Annen affirmed.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel similarly stated, in an interview with Israel’s Channel 10, that Berlin will not move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
‘Repeating the Arguments of Israel’s Enemies’
Petr Bystron, who submitted the query, responded that “the German government’s answer was almost identical with that of the Palestinian Authority, which has been protesting US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.”
Since Trump’s announcement in December that the US recognizes Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and will move its embassy there, a number of countries have followed suit.
Bystron said he was “amazed that, even 70 years after the founding of the State of Israel, the German government has no idea what its capital is.” He was especially surprised, he said, that Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who had just visited Jerusalem and emphasized Germany’s “special responsibility for, and solidarity with, the democratic, Jewish state of Israel,” was unwilling to support Israel’s position.
“Considering the special responsibility the German government keeps emphasizing it has toward Israel, it is strange they keep repeating the arguments of Israel’s enemies,” Bystron said.