Speech by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the Cairo Summit for Peace

21.10.2023 - Speech

Thank you, Mr President, for gathering us here today.

An Israeli father, whose eyes are sore from crying, whose wife and two little daughters have been brutally abducted by Hamas terrorists.

A mother in Gaza, who is desperate with sorrow because she can’t find drinking water for her little baby, fearing that the violence will cost more victims, in more families.

Families in Lebanon who are worried about the violence spreading to their country.

Across the region, we see terrible human grief and fear.

Let me be very clear, there is no doubt: all civilian lives matter just the same.

Let me also be clear that the cause of all the suffering of these past weeks – the suffering that brings us here today – has a name.

It was Hamas that brought horrendous terror over Israel on October 7th, committing atrocious crimes.

Like any other country in the world, Israel has the right to defend itself and to protect its people against this terror within the framework of international law.

That’s why the German Government firmly stands in solidarity with Israel.

For Germany, the security of the State of Israel is non-negotiable.

What is also clear is that the perpetrators of this terror do not speak for the Palestinian people.

They speak only for themselves.

They speak the language of terror.

The Palestinian mothers and fathers in Gaza struggling to find drinking water for their children do not speak the language of terror.

Their brothers and sisters in the West Bank, in Jordan or in Lebanon who are afraid of regional escalation do not speak that language of terror.

We here in this room do not speak that language.

We speak the language of international law, of humanity, of peaceful coexistence.

That’s what unites us.

In this sense, I appeal to everyone to stand up against terrorism.

I appeal to everyone to distinguish between terrorists and the civilian population at all times.

And I appeal to everyone to not fan the flames of hatred.

Because that is exactly what Hamas and their sponsors want.

To risk further regional escalation.

To divide us.

This terrorist plan must not play out.

That is why the fight against Hamas must be carried out with the greatest possible consideration for the humanitarian situation, for the innocent men, women and children in Gaza.

That is also why we must now jointly step up our efforts to help those most in need. Germany has increased its humanitarian aid to Gaza by 50 million euro. We encourage all others, including those from the region, to join this cause, as some have already announced.

It’s a crucial step that humanitarian goods can now to get into Gaza via Rafah. I would like to thank you, the Egyptian Government, and US partners and the UN for their efforts in this regard.

But we know that more help will be needed to alleviate the suffering.

And I am glad that, here in this room, we agree that, ultimately, this region needs a new peace process that will allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live peacefully and securely side-by-side, in two independent states.

This may sound far away today. But only a just and lasting solution would also mean the ultimate defeat of Hamas and its playbook, which is based on a complete rejection of humanity, of diplomacy.

The abducted Israeli girls, the mothers in Gaza, the families in Lebanon – they need us now. They need us, the international community, to speak the language of humanity.


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