German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been working behind the scenes to prevent European Union member countries from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the newspaper Jerusalem Post reported.

The revelation was made by Tomas Sandell, the director of the European Coalition for Israel in Brussels. Chancellor Merkel made a series of calls to European leaders in April while “many of the nations were seriously considering moving their embassies.” Sandell said. “This is not the Germany we once knew. This is not the even Angela Merkel we once knew when she was elected.”

German Chancellor waged a ‘fierce campaign’ to stop European countries from moving their embassies to Jerusalem, Weinthal, who broke the story in the Jerusalem Post early Tuesday, wrote on Twitter. The move was meant to keep Iran from quitting the nuclear deal and punish Israel for not toeing the EU line,  he added.

Weinthal, who is also a research fellow at the DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), reported in the Jerusalem Post:

The founding director of the European Coalition for Israel in Brussels, Tomas Sandell, announced in a shocking video message on Thursday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel waged a campaign to prevent central and eastern European countries from moving their capitals to Jerusalem to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

Sandell said in a Jerusalem Post exclusive report in November that Merkel called Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, to convince him to not relocate his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. The move prompted him to go public.

Speaking from the European parliament, Sandell said, “What we have found out, something I heard for quite some time already, from central and eastern European countries that would have an inclination to move their embassy to Jerusalem, this is the natural thing for them to do, is that they have received phone calls from Berlin, from Angela Merkel, the chancellor. Basically, this cannot happen under any circumstances.”

In December 2017, President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced his decision to move the U.S. embassy to the holy city. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”

Merkel opposed the Trump administration’s decision at that time, saying, “We’re sticking to the relevant U.N. resolutions – they make clear that the status of Jerusalem needs to be negotiated as part of negotiations on a two-state solution for Israel and that’s why we want this process to be revived.”

Merkel’s frantic back-channel diplomacy is an apparent attempt to cull growing support for Trump’s embassy move in the countries of eastern Europe.

In November, the Jerusalem Post reported Merkel’s efforts to stop Romania from relocating its embassy:

In an effort to stop Romania’s government from relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, German chancellor Angela Merkel called Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis in April, urging him to stop Bucharest’s declared announcement to move its diplomatic building to Israel’s capital.

A Western source told The Jerusalem Post that Merkel lobbied the Romanian president to put a halt on the relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem. It is believed that Merkel called other European politicians as part of a campaign to block the relocation of European embassies to Jerusalem.

Amid Berlin’s attempts at bullying the eastern European countries, Czech Republic President Milos Zeman announced his support for moving his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. Poland may also be mulling a similar move, recent media reports suggest.

While eastern Europe responded favorably to Trump’s embassy move, Germany witnessed hostile street protests. Responding to Trump’s decision last December, thousands of Muslim demonstrators gathered at in central Berlin, chanting Arabic slogans calling for the killing of Jews.

Penalizing Israel while placating Iran is Merkel’s way of filling the gap left by President Obama’s departure from the world stage. As Obama staffer Ben Rhodes wrote in his book earlier this year, Merkel admitted to Obama that “she felt more obliged to run for another term because of Mr. Trump’s election to defend the liberal international order (as paraphrased by the New York Times).” She is merely picking up where Obama left off.

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