Merkel, Netanyahu speak about Mideast conflict

Berlin: German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the current escalation in the Mideast conflict and emphasised Germany’s solidarity with Israel and the country’s right to self-defence.

She condemned the continued rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli and voiced her hope for a swift end to the fighting in light of the loss of civilian life on both sides.

Merkel’s office said she also stressed that the government will continue to act decisively against protests in Germany at which hatred and antisemitism is spread. 

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One of the leading contenders to succeed Merkel in Germany’s national election this fall, Annalena Baerbock of the centre-left Greens, likewise condemned the Hamas rocket attacks and backed Israel’s right to self-defense.

She called for Germany and the European Union to support efforts by US President Joe Biden to mediate between the warring parties.

Asked about Israel’s destruction of a high-rise building in Gaza used by international media, including AP, Baerbock said the principles of international humanitarian law, which bans attacks on civilians – apply in the conflict. 

Israel said the airstrike targeted Hamas, which it claimed was present in the building, but didn’t offer proof.

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