For an immediate humanitarian pause which leads to a permanent ceasefire: Foreign Minister Baerbock travels to the Middle East once again

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in the New Administrative Capital in Egypt

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in the New Administrative Capital in Egypt, © Photothek Media Lab

24.03.2024 - Article

Foreign Minister Baerbock is in the region for the seventh time from 24 to 26 March. Her schedule consists of talks in Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian territories. The crisis in the Middle East requires full-on shuttle diplomacy.

Außenministerin Baerbock in Israel
Foreign Minister Baerbock at the Kerem Shalom border crossing to the Gaza Strip in front of a lorry from Egypt filled with humanitarian assistance© Photothek

For the people of Israel and Gaza, 7 October marked the beginning of a never-ending nightmare. For the families of the hostages abducted by Hamas, who have been torn between hope and despair for almost six months now, fearing for the lives of their loved ones. And for the millions of people in Gaza, where the humanitarian situation is on the verge of collapse. According to UN organisations, hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza are in acute danger of starving to death. Together with partners, the German Government is doing everything it can to get vital supplies to people in Gaza by road, sea or air.

Striving for supplies to get through to end the hunger

As a direct neighbour and a key player in the region, Egypt has a special role to play. Foreign Minister Baerbock will have political talks with her Egyptian colleague, Sameh Shoukry, in the new administrative capital.

The people there need everything – every crate of food, medication, water purification tablets or medical equipment counts. Every crate sitting on lorries held up at Gaza’s border fences is one too many. Together with our international partners, we are exploring every possible option.

-Foreign Minister Baerbock

In order to end the hunger, additional border crossings between Israel and Gaza must be opened urgently. It is clear to Germany that the Israeli Government should and must protect its people against the Hamas terror. However, it is also clear that the Israeli army must respect international humanitarian law. The protection of civilians will therefore be one of the issues discussed during Foreign Minister Baerbock’s political talks with her Israeli counterpart, Israel Katz.

We stand by our responsibility for Israel’s security. Hamas must lay down its weapons and must never again be permitted to inflict the terror of 7 October on the people of Israel. But this goal cannot be achieved by military means alone. And military action has its limits in international humanitarian law.

Only an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire will keep the hope of peace alive.

-Foreign Minister Baerbock

For months now, Germany and partners such as the United States and Qatar have been deploying every diplomatic means at their disposal to bring about a humanitarian pause to prevent even more people dying in Gaza, as well as to secure the release of the hostages held by Hamas and their return to their families. Every millimetre along this path counts.

There can only be peace when there is peace for everyone

Although resistance to a two-state solution may be considerable at present: there can only be a long-term prospect of peace for people in the region if Palestinians also have their own state. In Ramallah, Foreign Minister Baerbock will meet both the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Riyad al-Maliki, and President Abbas. Every small step towards a secure future for Israelis and Palestinians matters. Because this is not just about bringing this war to an end but also this conflict.


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