Malta’s Prime Minister, on Tuesday, called for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Anadolu Agency reports.
Robert Abela said the release of hostages was a first step forward, and diplomatic efforts should be stepped up to achieve a permanent ceasefire.
“We cannot afford to have more innocent civilians losing their lives,” Abela said during a joint news conference with German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in Berlin.
In my view, a permanent ceasefire is the only solution; this requires a genuine commitment from all parties involved to resolve their differences through dialogue, as well as international mediators, diplomatic efforts and pressure from the global community
Malta, the EU’s smallest member state, holds a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the term 2023-2024.
A resolution drafted by Malta, which called for urgent humanitarian pauses in Gaza, was approved by the UN Security Council on 15 November. It was the first resolution to pass on Gaza since 7 October.
Scholz, for his part, said his government will continue to support Israel to defend itself against Hamas, and ensure that Israel’s security is not threatened.
He argued that the current discussion is not about a “cease-fire”, but about temporary “humanitarian pauses.”“So far there has been no apparent change on Hamas side,” Scholz claimed, and added that Israel must have all the opportunities to counter Hamas’s activities.
We will, therefore, continue to support Israel’s right to self-defence and do our part to make this possible
he said.Chancellor Scholz is facing criticism at home for providing blanket support to the Israeli government, and refraining from criticising Israeli attacks in Gaza. A recent poll by the Allensbach Institute found that the majority of Germans are against taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and strongly oppose providing military support to Israel.
In the poll, only 34 per cent said they agree with the view that Germany bears special responsibility for Israel due to its Nazi past.
Meanwhile, Qatar announced an agreement, late Monday, to extend a four-day humanitarian pause in the conflict for an additional two days, under which further prisoner exchanges will be carried out.
Israel launched a massive military campaign in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on 7 October.
It has since killed more than 15,000 people, including 6,150 children and 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave.
The official Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.