A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (19 July) on the situation in the Gaza Strip:
We are continuing to follow developments in the Gaza Strip with great concern. Last weekend saw the worst escalation since the Gaza War in 2014. In this regard, the German Government is supporting the intensive mediation endeavours by Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and the Egyptian Government.
Nickolay Mladenov has listed three factors that led to the latest escalation – the catastrophic humanitarian situation, which intensifies the widespread feeling among people in the Gaza Strip of a lack of opportunities, the stalled Palestinian reconciliation process and the volatile security situation. Tangible progress is rapidly needed in all three areas.
First and foremost, the attacks against Israel by Hamas, other groups and individual perpetrators must stop. This explicitly includes the use of incendiary kites and balloons, which cause massive damage and endanger people in Israel. At the same time, the Israeli Army must uphold the principle of proportionality in exercising its right of self-defence.
Despite all the difficulties, the Palestinian reconciliation process must not be abandoned. We welcome the fact that the Egyptian Government is keeping up its efforts in this regard.
Improvements in the humanitarian situation are more urgently needed than ever. Along with our partners, we will continue to play our part here. To this end, it is essential that more goods can enter and leave the Gaza Strip again, as the humanitarian and economic situation cannot improve in a lasting way unless the closure of the Gaza Strip is tangibly eased. We thus view with concern the Israeli Army’s almost total closure of the goods crossing of Kerem Shalom, most recently for fuels and a large number of humanitarian supplies.
All sides are called on to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible.