We are shocked and deeply concerned by the reports on today’s protests in Gaza, in which dozens of people have been killed or injured.
The right to peaceful protest must also apply in Gaza. At the same time, we have always made clear that this right must not be abused, taken as a pretext or exploited in order to escalate the situation, deploy violence or incite others to do so.
Israel has the right to defend itself and to secure the fence against violent incursion. However, the principle of proportionality applies. That includes only using live ammunition when other, less forceful methods of deterrence do not work and in cases of concrete threats.
The people in the Gaza Strip are in an oppressive humanitarian situation from which there seems to be hardly any escape in the near future. Germany remains willing to provide support via development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. Before urgently needed measures on improving the living conditions in Gaza can be discussed again, it is imperative that the situation on the ground improve. An important step on this path is that those who wield power in the Gaza Strip must renounce violence and the Palestinian Authority must once again be in control in Gaza.
Everyone must now work to ensure that the situation does not escalate in an even worse way.