A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (29 March) on the situation in and around the Gaza Strip ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary of the mass protests:
The risk of extremely dangerous escalation on the border between Gaza and Israel is clear. In the current fragile situation, absolute priority must attach to restraint and to serious efforts to prevent an escalation. The ongoing mediation efforts by Egypt and the United Nations have our full support, their engagement is decisive.
We have always made plain: The right to peaceful protest must apply in Gaza, as elsewhere –regardless of whether the protest is against the blockade of the Gaza Strip or the politics of the de-facto government in the Gaza Strip.
At the same time, it is clear: This right, as we have seen time and again, must not be used as a pretext for incitement or exploited in order to deploy crowd violence or legitimise violent acts. This also includes the use of incendiary kites and balloons, which cause massive damage and endanger human lives.
Protection of the civilian population applies to all people, regardless of which side of the fence they are on.
In the coming hours and days, the priority must be to prevent a spiral of escalation which, once it has started, will barely leave any way out.“
Egypt and the United Nations are engaged to bring about a cease-fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip and to prevent escalation linked to the anniversary of the Return demonstrations. The declared aim of international efforts is to bring about an opening-up of the economy in return for a lasting cease-fire.