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Germany reiterates Qatar 'important role' in Gaza war mediation

April 19, 2024 at 4:49 pm

Palestinians living in Nuseirat Refugee Camp collect the usable items among the rubble of the destroyed buildings after Israel withdrawal from northern Nuseirat Camp in Deir Al Balah, Gaza on April 18, 2024. [Ashraf Amra – Anadolu Agency]

Germany, on Friday, reaffirmed Qatar’s “important role” in mediating in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group, Hamas, less than two days after the Gulf State’s Prime Minister said that his country was reconsidering its part as ceasefire broker, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Qatar plays a very important role in the efforts to finally free the hostages from the hands of Hamas and we are in close coordination with Qatar,” Foreign Ministry spokesman, Christian Wagner, said at a press briefing in Berlin.

In a late-Wednesday statement, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani “lamented the political exploitation by some officials with narrow interests, marketing their electoral campaigns through the defamation of Qatar’s role.”

He did not name any politicians or states, but pointed out that Doha has observed the “misuse” of its mediation and “its employment for narrow political interests”, stressing that his country will undertake a “comprehensive evaluation” of its diplomatic position without indicating a timeline.

Meanwhile, Germany warned of “a humanitarian catastrophe” in Rafah, should Israel decide to launch a ground attack on the city.

READ: Qatar re-evaluating its role as mediator in Gaza ceasefire talks

“You know the federal government’s stance regarding the situation in Gaza. “We have made it clear, again and again, that there are still a large number of people in Rafah and that a large-scale ground offensive and large-scale attack on Rafah would trigger a humanitarian catastrophe and to this extent this stance continues to apply,” Wagner said.

Fears of a Rafah incursion have grown amid reports that Israeli forces have deployed more troops to areas adjacent to Rafah and destroyed agricultural land in the eastern areas of the district.

On Wednesday, Germany said Israel must do more to protect civilian lives in Gaza during its military operations following the latest UN report which stated that more than 10,000 Palestinian women have been killed since the start of the 7 October war in the enclave.

Israel must “apply international humanitarian law in everything it does. It must do more to ensure that there is humanitarian access to Gaza. That more humanitarian aid must come into Gaza. That it must do more to protect the civilian population in military operations,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told journalists in Berlin.

More than 10,000 women have been killed in Gaza during the war, according to a report from UN Women, the United Nations’ entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Out of those women, 6,000 were mothers, who left behind 19,000 orphaned children, the report pointed out.

A total of 33,843 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since last October, the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave said on Tuesday. The ongoing onslaughts have also injured 76,575 Palestinians, it added.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85 per cent of the territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while over 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

READ: Nearly 2 in 3 homes in Gaza have been destroyed, says UNICEF