Visiting friends in difficult times: Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz travelled to Israel and Egypt. There, he once again condemned the cruel Hamas terrorist attack in the severest terms. Germany supports the existence and the security of the state of Israel, he said.
The Federal Chancellor’s visit to Israel and then Egypt is a practical expression of this solidarity. “As I said last week to the Bundestag, in such difficult times there is only one place we can be: at Israel’s side,” said Scholz.
Meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu
The security of Israel is the prime motivation for Germany – it is the maxim according to which the Federal Government acts. Particularly in this difficult situation, Federal Chancellor Scholz felt that it was important to re-emphasise this after his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the current situation, he said, it was perfectly clear that Israel had the right under international law – and also a duty – to defend itself against this terror. He warned all those protagonists who now thought it a good idea to intervene in the conflict from outside: “That would be a grave and unforgivable mistake.”
Germany condemns the brutal attack by Hamas
The brutal terror against innocent civilians, including the murder of infants and the humiliation of Holocaust survivors, “sends a chill down our spines,” said Federal Chancellor Scholz.
He stressed that we too feel the dreadful suffering of all Israelis whose relatives died during the barbaric assault, and that we share the unbearable anguish of those whose relatives have been brutally abducted.
“We are making every effort to bring about their release,” said Scholz. He said that the very first subject of all discussions he was currently conducting would be the unconditional release of the hostages, and that he was even more convinced of the importance of this after meeting with their relatives.
Relieving humanitarian suffering in the Gaza Strip
The Federal Chancellor also spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. As constitutional democracies, we are not indifferent to the humanitarian crisis in these two states, he said. He also made it clear that the Federal Government would continue its humanitarian involvement to relieve the suffering of the civilian population.
In contrast to Hamas, who are holding the population captive as human shields, Germany and Israel want to avoid civilian casualties, he said. Scholz had therefore spoken with the Israeli Prime Minister about improved humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip.
Antisemitism has no place in Germany
Federal Chancellor Scholz concluded his visit to Israel with remarks on the situation in Germany: “Antisemitism has no place in Germany.” Jewish life in Germany was a gift, he said. The glorification and celebration of violence was repulsive and would therefore be punished. Germany will protect Jewish institutions.
Travelling onward to Egypt: prevention of further escalations
After his talks with the Israeli Prime Minister, Federal Chancellor Scholz met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
The same evening, Scholz travelled on to Egypt, where he continued his efforts to prevent the conflict from escalating further.
As an immediate neighbour, Egypt is directly affected by the conflict.
Among others, Federal Chancellor Scholz met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, with whom he had already been in close consultation about the situation in Israel before his trip. They discussed the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in particular.
The Federal Chancellor assured him of Germany’s humanitarian involvement in Gaza: “We will not abandon these people.” Together, Egypt and Germany would work towards achieving humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip as quickly as possible. After all his discussions, Scholz said, he now saw that some movement was being made in this question.
Scholz described the two countries as being united by the goal of preventing a conflagration in the Middle East. He expressed his respect for the Egyptian President and his esteem for the valuable role of mediator in these times. Germany wants to support Egypt in this, Scholz said, also with reference to the fate of the hostages.