Foreign Minister Baerbock on the situation in Rafah

16.05.2024 - Press release

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock issued the following statement on 16 May on the situation in Rafah:

I am deeply concerned about the Israeli army’s current actions in Rafah. The people there do not know what to do and no longer have any safe places to flee to. But protecting the civilian population must be the top priority. At the moment, there is no sign of this. The consequences are disastrous not only for the people in Gaza, but also for Israel’s security. Germany’s raison d’état means standing up for the security of the State of Israel. It also means doing our utmost to ensure that Israel does not lose itself in this war.

From the very beginning, we have made it clear that the terrorist playbook must not be allowed to succeed. We have therefore done everything in our power since 7 October to help alleviate the humanitarian suffering of the civilian population. And we have emphasised that military self-defence must target the Hamas terrorists and not innocent Palestinian children, women and men.

It is clear that Hamas can end the suffering of the people in Gaza immediately. However, it is also clear that the war against Hamas cannot be won by military means alone. Without safe places, medicine, food, fuel – the bare essentials needed to live – there will only be fresh suffering and fresh hatred. And more bombs and more tanks in Rafah endanger the hostages, too.

As difficult as every inch of progress is, we are not letting up in our diplomatic efforts. The negotiations on an immediate ceasefire are continuing. Our efforts on behalf of the hostages are continuing. Our humanitarian assistance is continuing. And, above all, we are not losing sight of the day after. A day when Hamas no longer poses a threat, when the Palestinians live in their own state, and when Israel has gained strength and security through good relations with its neighbours.


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