Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today (20 May) prior to his departure for Israel and the Palestinian territories:
This trip has three priorities for me. It is primarily an expression of solidarity with those who, day and night, must fear for their lives or even grieve their loved ones. Germany stands unconditionally by our friendship with Israel; the country must defend itself against the rocket attacks by Hamas. And our humanitarian support for the Palestinians, too, has always been dependable, even in challenging times.
Secondly, I will be focusing on how the international community can help finally bring an end to the violence and establish a lasting ceasefire as soon as possible. I have held a range of talks with my counterparts in Cairo, Amman and Doha on this issue in recent days.
Thirdly, we must discuss how we can forge a path back to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians – even if that may seem very far off at the moment. Desperation and hopelessness are a security issue. Israelis and Palestinians need fresh prospects for a peaceful future. Otherwise, it will only be a matter of time before the next escalation. Over the last year we have worked with our partners in the Munich format to develop proposals for confidence‑building measures, and I also hope that the Middle East Quartet can take on an active role once again.