Heiko Maas needs to explain his “sightseeing flight” over territories occupied by Israel
“The Federal Ministry of Justice refuses to answer my questions about former Justice Minister, and current Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas’s flight above territories occupied by Israel. Instead the Ministry is putting up a smokescreen to protect its former boss. I will not put with this,” states Andrej Hunko, Member of the German Bundestag.
While visiting Israel last year, Heiko Maas was taken in a helicopter over the West Bank and the Golan Heights with Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (pro-settler Jewish Home party), who is considered particularly right-wing. This is reported by German media outlets “tageszeitung” and “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. The Federal Ministry of Justice writes about this flight that during the preparations for Maas’s visit, “the Israeli side” had been “informed in writing, in accord with its position according to international law regarding the territory of the State of Israel, that the helicopter sightseeing flight was not permitted to fly over the territories occupied since 1967.”
Andrej Hunko goes on to say:
“Only two possible conclusions can be drawn from the Ministry’s statement: one is that Maas’s right-wing nationalist colleague and her husband brought him along over the occupied territories against his will. If this is the case, he should have protested. I suspect, however, that the second possibility is the case: the flight over these areas was planned, and the political provocation was intentional.
In order to avoid legitimising Israel’s settlement policy, German ministers do not visit occupied territories with their Israeli counterparts. This is also the established practice in other Member States of the European Union and even for the US President, and of course it also applies to airspace.
As Justice Minister, Maas was well aware of the political interpretation of his “sightseeing flight”. I thus call for an explanation of the incident and, if need be, consequences for it. The German Federal Government must apologise to the Palestinian Authority.
Furthermore, the Ministry’s answer is an attack on the right to ask questions that we hold as Members of the German Bundestag. The facts of the matter are being obfuscated and not clarified. I have therefore sent a complaint to the Ministry of Justice and to the President of the German Bundestag.”
Download the written question regarding the “helicopter sightseeing flight” over the occupied territories (in German): https://www.andrej-hunko.de/start/download/dokumente/1162-hubschrauber-rundflug-von-heiko-maas-ueber-den-von-israel-besetzten-gebieten