Germany defends Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip

German government spokesman refrains from condemning Israeli bombing of Gaza media building

Oliver Towfigh Nia  | 17.05.2021 - Update : 17.05.2021
Germany defends Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip


Germany on Monday again defended Israel's air strikes on residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, killing dozens of Palestinian children over the past week.

Speaking at a weekly press briefing in Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Seibert reiterated Israel had "the right to protect its citizens and to act in self-defense," At least 200 Palestinians have been killed so far, including 59 children.

The center-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly refused to condemn the Israeli killing of Palestinians in Gaza amid the mounting Palestinian civilian death toll.

Merkel's coalition government has been a strong supporter of Israel, and the chancellor repeatedly argued that Germany has a special responsibility for the security of Israel, due to the Nazi genocide of the Jews in World War II.

Seibert refrained from condemning the Israeli bombing of a building housing media organizations, including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press.

"We stand behind Israel's right to self-defense. We trust that Israel acts with a sense of proportion and within the framework of proportionality," the Merkel spokesperson said.

Seibert's remarks come in the wake of calls by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International for the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel's bombing of the media tower.

"Deliberately targeting media outlets constitutes a war crime," said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire.

"By intentionally destroying media outlets, the Israel Defence Forces are not only inflicting unacceptable material damage on news operations. They are also, more broadly, obstructing media coverage of a conflict that directly affects the civilian population," he added.

Deloire!s criticism was echoed by Amnesty International on twitter. "The Israeli attack on al-Jalaa building destroying homes and Aljazeera and AP [Associated Press] offices must be investigated as a war crime. The strike fits a pattern of Israel's collective punishment of the Palestinian population."

Germany has also been the scene of dozens of anti-Israel protests over the past week as tens of thousands took to the streets of major cities expressing their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid ongoing Israeli air strikes.

Israel's airstrikes on Gaza

At least 200 Palestinians have been killed, including 59 children and 35 women, in Israeli attacks in Gaza since last week, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. More than 1,305 people have also been injured and dozens of buildings destroyed or damaged in the Israeli offensive.

Ten Israelis have also been killed by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The recent tensions that started in East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan spread to Gaza as a result of Israeli assaults on worshippers in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

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