Berlin annoyed by foreign minister, Netanyahu row reports

Berlin annoyed by foreign minister, Netanyahu row reports
Berlin annoyed by foreign minister, Netanyahu row reports

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Germany said today it complained to Benjamin Netanyahu’s staff after what it described as a ‘distorted’ account of a row between German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and the Israeli prime minister was leaked to the press. — Reuters pic

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CAPRI, April 19 — Germany said today it complained to Benjamin Netanyahu’s staff after what it described as a “distorted” account of a row between German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and the Israeli prime minister was leaked to the press.

Israeli media, as well as Germany’s top-selling tabloid Bild, had reported that an argument erupted between Netanyahu and Baerbock during the German minister’s visit to Israel this week.

Asked about the report after a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting on the Italian island of Capri, Baerbock said that “we are not reporting on confidential discussions”.

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“The German ambassador was in contact with the prime minister’s staff and made it clear what we think of such distorting publications,” she said.

“Regret was expressed to us regarding the publication, whose source is unclear.”

According to the media reports, Baerbock was shown footage of markets with abundant supplies of food in the war-ravaged Gaza Strip, as well as images of beaches in the coastal territory where Palestinians were sunbathing and swimming.

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Baerbock responded by criticising Netanyahu over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, saying the images did not reflect the true situation there, reportedly sparking a retort from the premier who said Israel was “not like the Nazis” who manufactured reality.

Germany’s ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert has said on X, formerly Twitter, that “key points” in the media accounts are “wrong and misleading”, but did not specify what was the issue.

The relentless offensive has reduced much of Gaza to rubble, with the United Nations and aid agencies warning the north of the territory has been pushed to the brink of famine.

Despite growing global concerns about the situation in Gaza, Netanyahu this week rejected any claims about famine, insisting Israel is doing “above and beyond” what is needed “on the humanitarian issue,” his office said.

Baerbock was visiting Israel to show Germany’s support after Iran at the weekend launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on the country.

Germany has strongly supported Israel since the attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7 that triggered the war in Gaza.

But as the conflict has continued, Berlin has increasingly called for more aid to be sent to the territory as the humanitarian situation worsens.

Hamas’s attack in October resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people in southern Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,012 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry. — AFP

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