Last Update 11:48
Wednesday, 28 July 2021

German top diplomat expected in Israel for talks

Earlier, Germany's top diplomat had ruled out talking to Hamas

AP , Ahram Online , Wednesday 19 May 2021
Heiko Maas
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks during a session at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on the government's on May 19, 2021 in Berlin. AFP

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says he hopes to fly to Israel for talks Thursday with Israelis and Palestinians on the conflict in Gaza.

Asked to confirm Israeli media reports about such a trip, Maas told journalists in Berlin that "I can't tell you 100%, because of course we coordinate such a trip with those to whom we're travelling.''

He said that coordination hadn't been completed yet.

"But yes, my plan is to fly to Israel tonight and hold talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah," said Maas.

Earlier, Germany's top diplomat had ruled out talking to the Palestinian group Hamas that controls Gaza.

"After the events of recent days there is no reason to talk directly with Hamas,'' he said.

"Those are terrorist attacks that are being carried out by Hamas in Israel and which in my view completely rule out talking without intermediaries, directly to Hamas.''

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza has killed 221 and injured 1,700 Palestinians since Israel started its attacks on the strip 12 days ago, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The airstrikes and heavy shelling of the densely populated strip has also destroyed tens of commercial and residential towers, leaving hundreds of Palestinians homeless.

Meanwhile, Hamas and other Palestinian factions continued to fire rockets from Gaza toward Israeli cities and settlements in retaliation to Israeli attacks on Palestinians and Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. The Palestinian rocket attacks have left 12 dead and tens injured.

Israel has rejected all regional and international efforts to broker a ceasefire. 



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