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Netanyahu, Germany's Baerbock said to have clashed over Gaza images showing famine conditions

April 19, 2024 at 6:18 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (L) in West Jerusalem in April 17, 2024. [Israeli Government Press Office – Anadolu Agency]

Germany and Israel argued heatedly over images from Gaza during their meeting in Jerusalem earlier this week, with Germany’s Foreign Minister contending the images fail to show the reality of famine in the enclave, Israeli media reports said Friday.

According to Israeli Channel 13, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently wanted to use images to prove that conditions in the embattled Gaza Strip are not very bad, Anadolu Agency reports.

But German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, objected to this, pointing to widespread reports of famine in Gaza and offering to show Netanyahu pictures on her cell phone of starving children, said the TV outlet.

Netanyahu urged Baerbock to look at photos of markets and people on the Gaza beach, saying there are no cases of hunger there, it said.

According to the report, Baerbock asked him not to show the pictures because they did not show the reality of life in the Gaza Strip.

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

Netanyahu is said to have loudly replied that the photos were real and that Israel was not showing an invented reality, saying: “We are not like the Nazis.” The Nazis were notorious for making films showing staged scenes of Jews living under artificially favourable conditions.

Baerbock is said to have then asked Netanyahu whether he wanted to say that doctors in the Gaza Strip and international media were not reporting the truth, as there have been widespread reports of widespread famine-like conditions.

But Baerbock, on Friday, angrily disputed reports of a row between her and Netanyahu.

“The German ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, was in contact with the Prime Minister’s staff and made it clear what we think of such distorting publications,” Baerbock said at the end of the meeting of the G7 in Italy.

She told a reporter: “We do not report on confidential conversations. My office and the German ambassador to Israel have already commented on this.”

Seibert wrote on X that “key points in this account of the hour long meeting between Foreign Minister Baerbock and Prime Minister Netanyahu are wrong and misleading.”

READ: UNRWA chief warns man-made famine tightening grip across Gaza