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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 11:53 GMT
German right plans anti-Israel protests
Israeli President Moshe Katsav, right, and German President Johannes Rau, review the honour guard
Germany says Mr Katsav's visit is a symbol of solidarity

Germany's far-right National Democratic Party (NDP) has called on its supporters to take to the streets in several demonstrations against the Israeli President Moshe Katsav's visit.

Mr Katsav called for watchfulness against anti-Semitism.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
Mr Katsav is expected to meet Mr Schroeder
The Israeli president recently described Germany as one of Israel's best friends, yet his three-day visit could be an uncomfortable one.

After the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, modern Germany has cultivated a special relationship with Israel, but the tone in Germany is beginning to change.

Disapproval

Recently it has joined the chorus of European disapproval of Israeli military operations in the Palestinian territories, and Germany has turned down an Israeli army request to sell it a number of armoured troop-carriers.

The string of demonstrations planned by the extreme-right NDP - a party criticized for allegedly fomenting violence against Jews and other minorities - will add to the sense of winter chill.

German officials describe the Israeli president's visit as a symbol of solidarity and understanding between the two countries.

Mr Katsav will hold meetings with his German counterpart, Johannes Rau, and with the Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.

See also:

27 Nov 02 | Middle East
17 Sep 02 | Europe
07 Feb 02 | Middle East
19 Feb 01 | Middle East
01 Sep 00 | Middle East
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