PM Netanyahu and Chancellor Merkel issue joint statement at the inter-governmental consultations. (Photo: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom.)

The German weekly news service, Der Spiegel, reported on Saturday that the Federal Intelligence Service of Germany (BND) has been spying on Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office for several years.

In 2013, the BND announced that it would stop spying on Europe Union (EU) member states and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members, but there seem to be many exceptions to that rule.

Der Spiegel’s recent report also claimed that BND has been spying on NASA, the US Air Force, the US State Department, and American diplomats across Europe. In addition, the interior ministers of Austria and Belgium, the British Ministry of Defense and the main headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were targeted. The list of victims of BND spying also include emails, phones and faxes of embassies and consulate belonging to the US, UK, France, Sweden, Spain, and the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva.

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Last October, Der Spiegel reported that the BND was spying on the US Department of the Interior, European countries and the Vatican. They were also reported to be spying on conversations of American diplomats stationed in Brussels and in the UN.

Despite the spying, Israel and Germany are reported to have close intelligence ties. The German publication Stern reported last January that Berlin received information from Israel warning them of an imminent terror attack against a packed soccer stadium soon after the Paris terror attacks in November 2015.

Spying on allies is not unusual for intelligence organizations. In December the Wall Street Journal reported that US National Security Agency (NSA) listened in on phone conversations between top Israeli officials and US lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.

In 2013, the German government discovered that the United States had tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. She responded by saying, ““spying among friends, that’s just wrong”.

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Source: Israel in the News