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Germany Condemns Far-Right Israeli Minister's Call To Expel Palestinians From Gaza

15.05.2024 18:42

‘We firmly reject any occupation or expulsion' of Palestinians from Gaza, Foreign Ministry says, responding to Israel's Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir's call for their expulsion.

Germany on Wednesday condemned calls made by Israel's far-right Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir for the expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

"We firmly reject any occupation or expulsion (of Palestinians) from Gaza. We have made this clear again and again and such statements are unacceptable and, in our opinion, also contribute to the aggravation of the situation," Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Christian Wagner said at a press briefing in Berlin.

On Tuesday, Ben-Gvir, also the leader of the right-wing Power Party, called on the government in Tel Aviv to "encourage emigration" of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, as he joined thousands of Israelis at a far-right Independence Day march in the south led by Jewish activists advocating for resettling Gaza and forcing Palestinians to leave the enclave.

Germany differs from EU's call for Israel to halt military operations in Rafah

Meanwhile, Germany contradicted calls given by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, saying it would "not give advice" to Israel on how to conduct its military campaign in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

"It is up to the Israeli government to explain how it intends to ensure this protection of the civilian population and to do so effectively in its military operations," Wagner said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Borrell urged Israel to end its operation in Rafah immediately, saying the operation disrupts the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and is causing further internal displacement, famine, and suffering.

"The EU is calling on Israel to refrain from further exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza and reopen the crossing point of Rafah. Should Israel continue its military operation in Rafah, it would inevitably put a heavy strain on the EU's relationship with Israel," Borrell said in a statement posted on X.

Despite international pressure, Israeli authorities have severely restricted the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, pushing hundreds of thousands of civilians toward famine.

Israel stands accused of "genocide" at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Deputy government spokesman's comment on Israeli human rights causes stir

In a related development, Chancellor Olaf Scholz's spokesman caused a stir among Berlin media representatives on Wednesday when he claimed that Israel is following international law in its war in Gaza, even though the UN, EU, and human rights organizations have all stated categorically that Tel Aviv has committed massive violations of international law.

"The Chancellor's position on this issue is completely clear and has not changed. Israel has the right under international law to defend itself against the ongoing attack by Hamas," Deputy Government spokesperson Wolfgang Buchner said at a news conference in the German capital.

Israel has waged an unrelenting offensive on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas last Oct. 7 which killed some 1,200 people.

The Palestinian death toll from Israel's ongoing offensive on the Gaza Strip has mounted to 35,233, the Health Ministry in the battered enclave said on Wednesday.

At least 79,141 other people have also been injured in the onslaught, the ministry added in a statement.

"Israeli forces killed 60 people and injured 80 others in five 'massacres' against families in the last 24 hours," the ministry said. -

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