The armed attack by the terrorist organisation Hamas against the State of Israel took place one month ago now. A month which has left deep wounds in the Middle East. No one can fail to be moved by the images of the people caught up in the conflict: the desperation of the Israeli families who still fear for their children abducted by Hamas. The pain of relatives who lost their loved ones in the Hamas attack. And at the same time, the disastrous humanitarian situation in Gaza, the thousands of people killed or injured who have been deliberately used by Hamas as human shields.
Hamas’ terror is aimed at driving a wedge between members of the international community, at destroying Israel’s cautious rapprochement with some Arab neighbours. It is therefore all the more important that all channels of communication are now used to avert the risk of the conflict engulfing the entire region. That is why Foreign Minister Baerbock is travelling to the region once more on 10 November to, among other things, discuss the situation in the Middle East with her colleagues in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Naturally, our efforts to free the German hostages will also be discussed.
Prior to her departure on 10 November 2023, Foreign Minister Baerbock said:
The historic opportunity of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours must not be destroyed. For that is precisely what the terrorists want. Our efforts to bring about the release of the hostages, to establish humanitarian access to Gaza or to prevent the violence from spreading to the rest of the region only have a chance of success if we work together with the Arab Gulf states.
Following her talks in the Gulf states, Foreign Minister Baerbock will travel on to Israel. This will be the Minister’s third visit to Israel since the armed attack by Hamas on 7 October. She will meet her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen once more and will again assure him of Germany’s solidarity.
Israel’s announcement on 9 November that it will introduce humanitarian pauses for the Gaza Strip offers a glimmer of hope. Among others, the G7 had previously called for such humanitarian pauses during its meeting in Tokyo. They will make it possible to provide people in the Gaza Strip with essential supplies and to alleviate their suffering.
Foreign Minister Baerbock commented as follows:
Israel can count on Germany’s staunch and unwavering support as it defends itself against Hamas’ terror. As democracies, we stand shoulder to shoulder. Of course, Israel must do everything in its power to protect civilians. That also applies if Hamas continues to take cover behind hundreds of thousands of civilians and deliberately buries itself below schools and hospitals.
Although political solutions appear to be a distant prospect at the present time: even in the current crisis, it is important not to lose sight of a durable solution. People in the Middle East need a viable peace settlement; Israelis and Palestinians must be able to live side by side in peace, security and dignity. This will require a negotiated two-state solution; and that can only be achieved by involving all states in the region.