Luise Amtsberg, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (4 February) prior to departing for Israel and the Palestinian territories:
For almost four months now, Israelis and Palestinians have been forced to endure immeasurable suffering. The lives of those held hostage by Hamas and the fear felt by families for their loved ones can only be described as a living hell. The fight for survival in Gaza is a living hell.
International humanitarian law obliges all parties to do everything they can to protect civilians. It is therefore imperative that the Israeli Government permits further humanitarian assistance to enter the Gaza Strip via more border crossings. Hamas must halt its attacks against Israel and finally release all hostages. Substantial humanitarian pauses are absolutely vital.
In this context, it is more important than ever to bolster those on the ground who are actively working to bring about peace. During my trip, I will talk to civil-society stakeholders who want to facilitate peaceful co-existence among Palestinians, Israelis, Muslims and Jews. Two sovereign states in which citizens can live in security and dignity are necessary in order to ensure lasting peace.
The lives of Palestinians in the West Bank, which has grown increasingly difficult during the last few years, will be another focus of my visit. The Israeli Government has a responsibility to prevent and prosecute any acts of violence committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.