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Annalena Baerbock: The Foreign Minister will travel to the West Bank on Monday

Photo: Michael Kappeler / dpa

On the first day of her trip to Israel and the West Bank, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) called on the Israeli government to moderate the military operation in the Gaza Strip. "The suffering of many innocent participants cannot go on like this, we need less intensive operations," Baerbock said in Jerusalem. The Israeli army must do more to protect civilians in Gaza.

Baerbock also warned against speculation about the expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, as recently voiced by ultra-right-wing Israeli ministers. It is "incontrovertible: Gaza belongs to the Palestinians," Baerbock said after talks with Foreign Minister Israel Katz and President Isaac Herzog. They must not be expelled from Gaza."

At the same time, the Federal Foreign Minister assured the Israeli Government of Germany's active solidarity. In her talks, she "reaffirmed that her country can rely on our solidarity in the fight against blind terror that wants to wipe Israel off the map." Germany will defend Israel's legitimate right to self-defense within the framework of international humanitarian law.

Baerbock appealed to the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas to stop the attacks on Israel and to release all hostages. "If Hamas did not fanatically continue this senseless struggle, the war would have been over long ago," Baerbock said.

Baerbock will travel to the West Bank and Egypt

The Gaza war was triggered by the devastating attack on Israel by the Islamist Hamas and other extremist Palestinian groups on October 7. Terrorists killed about 1140,250 people and took about <> more hostage to the Gaza Strip.

Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive. According to the Hamas-controlled health authority, 22,600 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since then. In view of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the sealed coastal area and the high number of civilian casualties, Israel has recently come under increasing international criticism.

Baerbock plans to visit a Palestinian village in the West Bank on Monday and meet Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Maliki in Ramallah. Afterwards, the onward journey to Egypt is planned, followed by a visit to Lebanon on Wednesday.