Schröder Rebuked for Urging for Talks with HamasThis picture, "Kistenkanzler" (box[-mounted] chancellor) is one of those many things being freely and prolifically distributed by email. Whether it is genuine or a PhotoShop-job I can't tell, but whatever, its symbolic truth is stunning.
Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schröder is causing controversy by urging direct talks with the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority. The call is contrary to strict EU and US policy of refusing to talk to the Islamic group unless it renounces violence and recognizes Israel.
Gerhard Schröder, already under fire for taking a job at a Russian-controlled gas pipeline project he helped arrange while still in power last year, is no stranger to controversy. But the former chancellor sparked more after holding a speech at the German Middle East Association... "If the political process which gets us closer to peace is to be continued, one will have to enter into direct negotiations with the democratically elected Hamas government,"...
What he didn't say was that Islamic radical group Hamas would first have to renounce violence or recognize Israel. And he also criticized the Israeli government by saying its plans to "draw a unilateral border" were misguided.
Both issues are absolute no-go areas for the current German government, whose Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier -- formerly Schröder's chief of staff -- was sitting in the audience. Other guests included the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates and a management board member of Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank.
The comments by Schröder, who alienated US President George W. Bush by refusing to back the Iraq war while he was chancellor, immediately provoked criticism from all major parties including his own Social Democrats.
The ex-chancellor had already shown questionable judgment getting involved with Russian gas company Gazprom and his latest statement could undermine the solidarity of the international community, said Hoyer. This was a "huge mistake," he added, especially since Schröder's comments as former chancellor carried a lot of weight.
Earlier this month the German government had criticized three members of parliament for meeting the Hamas government's Minister for Refugees, Atef Adwan, in Berlin. Adwan briefly spoke to two MPs from the FDP and one from the SPD after a visit to Sweden...
With reporting by Fabian Grabowsky, Yassin Musharbash and Christopher Stolzenberg
What can I say apart from: That man is so phony, he makes a three-dollar-bill looking genuine, even though it DOES match his past line of politics. Does somebody remember that he, during his Egypt visit in 2003, in a joint press conference with Mubarak, called the Israeli strike against a Syrian terrorist training camp a violation of "the sovereignty of another country" and called it "not acceptable"? In his support for terrorists, he is only consistent.
Yeah, yeah, I voted for him 1998 and 2002 too because the alternative was even worse, but that is more a symptom of the state of affairs here and less one of my own stupidity.