Foreign Minister Heiko Maas calls on Israelis and Palestinians to hold talks about the conflict in the Middle East. To mediate on the spot, he first travels to Israel. Federal President Steinmeir is skeptical.
Berlin (AP) – Ten days after the escalation of the Gaza conflict, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will travel to Israel and the Palestinian Territories on Thursday. “My plan is to fly to Israel tonight and hold talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah,” Maas said in Berlin on Wednesday.
His ministry announced that he would meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Aschkenasi, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and President Reuven Rivlin, among others. A meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtaye is scheduled in Ramallah. “The focus of the political talks is the current escalation in the Middle East and international efforts to end violence,” said a spokeswoman. Maas travels back to Germany on Thursday evening.
On May 10, Islamist Hamas launched massive rocket attacks on Jerusalem and other cities. Israel responded with massive bombing of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
Maas had again clearly stood on Israel’s side on Wednesday and condemned Hamas’s “missile terror” in the Bundestag “in the strongest possible way”. Israel has the right and the duty to defend itself, he said. The Foreign Minister called for an immediate halt to attacks on Israel, an agreement on a ceasefire and subsequent direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians to find a solution to the conflict. Such a solution should enable both parties to live independently. “We are therefore firmly convinced that this can only be a negotiated two-state solution.”
Maas (SPD) again called for tough action against anti-Semitism in Germany. He advocated “fighting anti-Semitic hate preachers, agitators and violent criminals here in our own cities with all the harshness of the German rule of law – regardless of whether they have always lived here or have only come here in recent years”. Everyone should know: “There shouldn’t be an inch of space in our streets for anti-Semitism. Never and never again. “In recent days, anti-Semitic slogans have also been sung at demonstrations.
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