German president to fly to Israel with his wife, Elke Büdenbender
Steinmeier said he wanted to show support for Israel in the wake of the October 7 attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas that killed 1,200 people and Israel’s subsequent air and ground attacks on Gaza.
But, in a video message released on Saturday, he also said more needed to be done for Gaza’s civilians.
He explained that he was travelling “to assure Israel of our continued solidarity – solidarity not only with Israel as a victim of terror, but also with Israel, which is defending itself.”
“No one can deny Israel the right to fight terror decisively,” Steinmeier said.
However, this fight is also causing immense suffering among unarmed civilians in the Gaza Strip, he said.
“Every precaution to get civilians out of the line of fire is necessary. In addition, there is the supply of the most vital necessities. That is what international humanitarian law demands, and that is what we Germans also expect.”
Steinmeier said the long-sought two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict must be a political priority going forward.
“There is only one way out with a policy based on two principles: more security for Israel and at the same time more prospects for the future for the Palestinians,” Steinmeier said in the video.
“And if the end result is to be a peace that has a chance of lasting, it can only mean two states. The Palestinians must exercise their right to political self-determination and live in dignity, freedom, and peace with their neighbours.”