Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock issued the following statement today (10 November) prior to her departure for the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel:
Even though a lasting solution to the Middle East conflict still currently appears to be a distant prospect, the divisions in the world have deepened and we are kept busy every day with crisis diplomacy, we have a responsibility to continue making every effort to resolve the terrible dilemma on the ground: Israel has a right and a duty to defend itself against Hamas’ ongoing brutal terror in order to protect its citizens. At the same time, we have to do everything we can to alleviate the appalling suffering of innocent children, women and men.
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.
The prospect of humanitarian pauses is key to this, for the images coming out of Gaza have left none of us unmoved: streets reduced to rubble, people covered in blood and dust searching for their parents, children and neighbours, thousands of people killed or injured. People in Gaza urgently need supplies of basic necessities – water, food, medicines – to alleviate their suffering somewhat. Together with our partners, we are working tirelessly to find more ways and options to provide effective humanitarian assistance.
In this dilemma, which is almost impossible to resolve, it is crucial not to lose sight of the longer-term future. 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.
Only a renewed focus on the promise of a life side by side – in two states – can bring Israelis and Palestinians a life in peace, security and dignity.