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Germany reiterates opposition to request cease-fire in Gaza

Anadolu Agency EUROPE
Published November 21,2023
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (AFP File Photo)

Germany's foreign minister reiterated her country's position Tuesday to not request a cease-fire in Gaza where the death toll has climbed to more than 14,000 civilians.

Annalena Baerbock defended Germany's opposition to a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip during an interview with German public broadcaster, DW, and emphasized that the priority needs to be getting humanitarian aid to residents.

She pointed to "international responsibility" in the besieged enclave when Israeli attacks end.

"In order to ensure security, we need international responsibility," noted Baerbock.

The international community has assumed a similar responsibility in other recent conflicts, she said, referring to the "terrible wars in Europe's Western Balkans."

Germany is working with the U.S. and several Arab countries "to do everything possible to ensure the people in Gaza have safe places where they won't be killed, where they can access clean drinking water, medication," said Baerbock.

On the situation in the occupied West Bank, she added her voice to criticism of the Israeli government's settlement policy.

"Israel's prime minister must condemn settler violence. It must be criminally prosecuted. This is also in Israel's security interest. In terms of security in the West Bank, Israel is also responsible for ensuring the situation there does not escalate further," she said.

Tensions have been running high across the West Bank amid an Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group, Hamas, on Oct. 7.

The Palestine Health Ministry said at least 218 Palestinians have been killed and 2,850 others injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank since Oct. 7.


She touched on the backlash toward Germany's "unconditional support" to Israel and said she found the criticism "extremely unsettling."

Germany's support of Israel "in no way contradicts standing up for international humanitarian law, and for the universality of human rights," said Baerbock.

She pointed to Germany's "historic and moral responsibility to the Jewish people and the Israeli state" as a result of World War II and atrocities committed during the Holocaust.

"We are committed to international law, and we are committed to our German responsibility. And that means giving Jewish men and women, whom Germany had tried to annihilate under the Nazi dictatorship, a safe country. That is the state of Israel, and that's why Israel's security is Germany's 'reason of state,'" she said.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas in early October.

Authorities in Gaza said Monday that the death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks on the enclave since Oct. 7 has jumped to more than 14,100 including 5,840 children and 3,920 women.

The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.