UPDATE – No cease-fire possible without Hamas: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday voiced support for indirect talks with Hamas in order to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups.

“Of course, there must be indirect talks with Hamas,” Merkel said while responding to a question at the International WDR Europaforum 2021, adding that without agreement with Hamas, it will not be possible to maintain a cease-fire.

Berlin has so far backed Israel’s military onslaught on Palestinian targets that included civilians, citing Germany’s special responsibility for the security of Israel, due to the Nazi genocide of the Jews in World War II. Merkel’s government has declined to enter direct talks with Hamas, which rules the besieged Gaza Strip.

Merkel said Egypt and several Arab countries were carrying out talks with Hamas in these days for a cease-fire and expressed Germany’s support for these diplomatic efforts.

Asked about recent protests in Germany against fierce Israeli attacks, and alleged anti-Semitic acts in some of these demonstrations, Merkel said the German government backs freedom of expression but would not tolerate anti-Jewish hatred.

“A distinction must be made. One can criticize the policies of the state of Israel. These criticisms can be made in Israel, and also here. I myself criticized Israel’s settlement policies on various occasions,” Merkel said.

“But if some people hold protests in front of synagogues, or burn flags, or generalize these political issues to all Jews, we will show zero tolerance against such acts,” she added.

At least 230 Palestinians have been killed, including 65 children and 36 women, and over 1,700 others injured in Israeli attacks across Gaza since May 10, according to the Gaza-based Health Ministry.

In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, 28 Palestinians, including four children, were killed by the Israeli forces in clashes that erupted in protest of Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Twelve people in Israel have been killed in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip after Tel-Aviv ignored an ultimatum by Palestinian resistance groups to cease its attacks.

Recent tensions that started in East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan spread to Gaza as a result of Israeli assaults on worshippers at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. In 1980 it annexed the entire city, a move never recognized by the international community.​​​​​​​

Source: Anadolu Agency

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