“We are using all channels at our disposal to help ease the situation.”

13.05.2021 - Interview

Interview by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with BILD newspaper

What is the Federal Government doing to halt missile attacks on Israel?

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas: “We absolutely have to stop the terror and the violence right now. That is what I made plain in all my talks, also with Israel’s neighbours Egypt and Jordan. Germany is working for an immediate end to the violence. If this doesn’t work, there are hard times ahead for us.”

How do you assign guilt amongst the conflicting parties?

Maas: “Certainly the most recent escalation is one that Hamas deliberately triggered by firing more than a thousand missiles at Israeli towns. But what I am focusing on is not whose fault it is but how to resolve the conflict and that is what we are working on. We are using all channels at our disposal to help ease the situation. However, it is also abundantly clear that only a negotiated two-state solution can ultimately break the fatal cycle of recurring violence.”

Is Germany now calling for sanctions?

Maas: “We are seeing that the Palestinians are divided and the Palestinian Authority has lost control in parts of the Palestinian territories. In a situation like this, punishments don’t help. We do however need to look carefully to see the extent to which other actors are involved.”

The lead candidate of The Greens, Annalena Baerbock, wanted to stop supplying Israel with submarines as early as 2018 ...

Maas: “No. A call like that is without substance and is very dangerous. Germany has always upheld Israel’s right of self-defence.”

Here in Germany we have seen increased attacks on synagogues over the last three days. What should the security authorities do?

Maas: “We need to take the utmost care to protect Jewish facilities at all times. This is especially true, of course, when conflicts in the Middle East escalate.”

This coming weekend, anti-Israel demonstrations are planned in many German cities. Can we allow this to happen?

Maas: “The authorities have a complicated job making these decisions. If crimes are to be expected, the demonstrations have to be banned. On the other hand, agitators shouldn’t be able to argue that freedom of opinion is restricted in Germany.”


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