The German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, reiterated Israel’s right to defense before traveling this Sunday to Tel Aviv on a solidarity visit in which the president of the Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, will also be present.
“No one can deny Israel the right to combat terror effectively,” Steinmeier said in a video message before the trip.
However, Steinmeier also warned of the need to protect the civilian population and respect international humanitarian law.
“Measures to remove civilians from the line of fire are essential. Added to this is the need to supply basic goods. This is something that international humanitarian law demands and that we in Germany also expect,” he declared.
Steinmeier said in the message that his visit is intended to show Germany’s solidarity with Israel.
“Not only solidarity with Israel as a victim of terrorism but also with Israel that defends itself,” he said.
Germany, Steinmeier indicated, provides humanitarian aid to Gaza and during his visit he wants to talk with the Israeli authorities about ways to deliver certain products during the pause in the fighting.
“For us there is no discussion: every life is worth the same as another. From a humanitarian point of view we do not make distinctions. Our solidarity is with all the victims of this war,” he said.
“But politically we must differentiate, since the terror that Israel suffered on October 7 cannot be repeated,” he added.
The pause in fighting now, Steinmeier warned, does not automatically bring peace and peace cannot last as long as Hamas is a threat to Israel.
“There is only one way out with a policy based on two principles: more security for Israel and at the same time future prospects for the Palestinians,” he said.
This, according to the German president, forces a return to the idea of two states although the history of that idea in recent years has been above all the story of wasted opportunities.
Steinmeier, on the other hand, declared himself “infinitely happy” for the release of some of the hostages and warned that the fighting can only stop when all the hostages have been freed.