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Germany’s Baerbock calls on Israel to show restraint, take de-escalatory steps

Nov. 28: Israel cannot have an interest in more civilian casualties, more suffering of women, children, German foreign minister says, Anadolu Agency reports on Tuesday.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on Israel to show restraint and take de-escalatory steps during the humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip. “The cease-fire, the release of the hostages, that’s a little bit of a light for the first time, now we have to use it together,” Baerbock said in a speech at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum.

She said they will increase their efforts to enable the delivery of further humanitarian aid to Gaza during the humanitarian pause. “Gaza is the most dangerous place in the world for children, as the head of UNICEF said last week. That is a reality. That is why we are now doing everything we can to help the children in particular,” she said.

“These are supposedly simple things, but they take days of negotiations, such as bringing in more water, milk powder or bandage.”

Baerbock reiterated her government’s stance that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas, but also reminded Tel Aviv its obligations under international humanitarian law.

“We make it clear to Israel time and again that civilian casualties must be avoided at all times,” she said.

“Israel cannot have an interest in more civilian casualties, more suffering of women, children, men, and more grief and anger in the Arab world as a result,” she continued.

“It is another danger that this conflict would be spread and carried into the next generation,” she also warned.

Baerbock said they expect the Israeli government to take measures to stop settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

“I am calling on Israel to do more to prevent extremist settlers in the West Bank from exploiting the situation to drive Palestinians from their homeland,” she said.

The foreign minister also underlined the need for further efforts to de-escalate the conflict and revive talks for a political solution.

Baerbock also expressed concern over the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments and hate crimes, and warned against general suspicion toward Muslims.

“It is so important for me to make it clear, especially in these days, that we must not only stand up against anti-Muslim racism, but also be aware that standing up against anti-Muslim racism makes our democracy strong,” she said.

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