İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO-Previously, a German spokesperson to the foreign affairs ministry said the Minister Sigmar Gabriel would meetwith civil society groups but declined to give details. Israeli media alleged that the secret civic group was ‘’Breaking the Silence’’ which collects documents and testimonies from retired soldiers and veterans about Israeli Army’s treatment of Palestinians in occupied West Bank.
Of course, this had broad repercussions in Israel. Israeli Environment Minister, Zeev Elkin, a confidant of Netanyahu, told it was "unthinkable" for a minister to meet groups working against the country that he was visiting. He said, “The time has come for us to put an end to this situation in which anyone can come and meet groups that act against Israel ... you are entitled to meet whoever you want, but don't expect that all the leaders of the state will stand in line to meet you".
Also, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened German officers to cancel the meeting which would be held in Israel between Israeli and German bureaucrats, if they talk with left-wing, Jewish opposition figures.
As a response, German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, said that it would be "regrettable" if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancel the meeting between the two in Israel. He told ZDF television as "Imagine if the Israeli Prime Minister ... came to Germany and wanted to meet people critical of the government and we said that is not possible ... That would be unthinkable ".
Similarly, Netanyahu ordered the reprimand of the Belgian ambassador as Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel met with representatives of Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem, during his visit to the region, in February.
If we think about the ‘’ Western Block’’ we would add Israel to it without any serious comparison. As both Germany and Israel are a part of it, weautomatically think that there’s no problem between them.
Germany sees itself as one of Israel's closest allies but Jews did not forget Nazi cruelty upon them. Moreover, Berlin has been increasingly critical of Israel's settlement plans which are not debatable under Netanyahu’s rule. In March, Germany canceledan annual meeting of German and Israeli leaders that was to take place in May regarding the frustration in Berlin with settlement activity in the West Bank.