Scholz stresses 'importance of protecting civilians' in Gaza to Netanyahu
November 2, 2023 12:23 AM
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a telephone call Wednesday that protecting civilians in the Gaza Strip and ensuring humanitarian aid were crucial, Berlin said.
Scholz "renewed Germany's unwavering solidarity with Israel," his office said in a statement after the call.
"He underlined the importance of protecting civilians and humanitarian supplies for the people of the Gaza Strip."
Hamas militants killed 1,400 people and kidnapped more than 230 on October 7 according to Israeli officials, in the deadliest attack in the country's history.
Since then, Israel has relentlessly bombarded the Palestinian territory and sent in ground troops as they seek to destroy Hamas, with the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza saying 8,796 people have been killed, two-thirds of them women and children.
Scholz welcomed the fact the first ambulances carrying wounded Palestinians from Gaza were able to enter Egypt Wednesday and said he and Netanyahu "agreed to work together to prevent the conflict from spreading".
The call with Netanyahu came one day after an Israeli strike on Jabalia refugee camp.
At least 47 people were killed in the strike which Israel said had hit a vast tunnel complex, assassinating a senior Hamas commander behind the October 7 attacks.
In a separate interview later, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock accused Hamas of using civilians as "human shields" in the camp.
"Israel not only has a right to defend itself but rather, like every other country in the world, has the duty to protect its citizens," she told public broadcaster ZDF.
She condemned "a situation in which Hamas very consciously uses the people in this refugee camp as human shields -- it is not a coincidence that terror cells are in refugee camps".