Political talks in the midst of a conflict that knows nothing but dilemmas – Foreign Minister Baerbock travels to Israel again

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, © dpa

14.02.2024 - Article

Foreign Minister Baerbock is to visit Israel again from 14 to 15 February. It is her fifth trip there since Hamas’ despicable terrorist attack.

Over four months have already passed since 7 October, and the families of the more than 120 hostages still do not know what has happened to their loved ones. Meanwhile, Israel continues to be subjected to rocket attacks – in the south by Hamas and in the north by Hezbollah – and 7 October and its consequences continue to endanger the peace and security of an entire region.

Hamas’ terror has not only brought immeasurable suffering upon Israel, but also upon the people in Gaza. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is growing more dramatic by the hour. If the Hamas terrorists had even an ounce of sympathy with the Palestinian women, men and children who are suffering as a result of the fighting, they would lay down their arms without delay. Instead, the terrorists are continuing to use the civilian population as a human shield.

- Foreign Minister Baerbock prior to her departure for Israel

The security of one means the security of the other

While in Israel, Foreign Minister Baerbock will hold political talks with her Israeli counterpart Israel Katz, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Herzog, among others. The idea that Israel must defend the security of its people against the Hamas terror is an unquestionable premise for Germany. Such defence must be conducted within the parameters of international humanitarian law and must not ignore the protection of the civilian population. With a view to her upcoming political talks, Foreign Minister Baerbock thus made the following comments prior to her departure:

In Rafah, 1.3 million people are crammed into a small area in the most appalling conditions. Many of them obeyed Israel’s calls to evacuate and have fled from the fighting in northern Gaza – often with little more than their children in their arms and the clothes on their back. Under these circumstances, an offensive by the Israeli forces on Rafah would send the humanitarian situation spiralling completely out of control. For the people in Rafah cannot simply disappear into thin air. They need safe places and secure corridors so that they do not end up being caught in the crossfire once again. They need more humanitarian assistance. And they need a humanitarian pause.

Promoting a lasting ceasefire and a political process

Another key issue on the Foreign Minister’s trip will be the fate of the more than 120 remaining hostages – including several German nationals. During her trip, Foreign Minister Baerbock will make the case for a political process leading to another humanitarian pause, in order both to create a window for hostages to be released and to lay down the groundwork for negotiations on a permanent ceasefire. She considers it self-evident that a two-state solution is the only way for Israelis and Palestinians to live in lasting security.


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