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Germany's Scholz says attacking Rafah would make regional peace ‘very difficult'

17 March 2024 18:44 (UTC+04:00)
Germany's Scholz says attacking Rafah would make regional peace ‘very difficult'

Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has warned that an Israeli assault on Rafah would make regional peace “very difficult”, Azernews reports, citing the Guardian.

This is one of the main arguments he will bring to talks with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, later on Sunday during his trip to the region, he said.

“Right now, it is about ensuring we come to a long-lasting ceasefire,” Scholz said after talks with Jordanian King Abdullah at his private residence in the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba.

“That would enable us to prevent such a ground offensive from taking place.”

Asked if he was prepared to exert pressure on Netanyahu to stop such an assault, Scholz said it was “very clear we must do everything so the situation does not get worse than it already is”.

“Israel has every right to protect itself. At the same time, it cannot be that those in Gaza who fled to Rafah are directly threatened by whatever military actions and operations are undertaken there.”

Israel – which on Friday approved a plan to attack Rafah – says the city is one of the last strongholds of Hamas, which it has pledged to eliminate, and that residents will be evacuated.

The US president, Joe Biden, and officials with the UN, however, have warned that an Israeli military ground offensive in Rafah, where over 1 million Palestinians are sheltering, would lead to a “bloodbath”.

In a post on X, Scholz also said on Sunday that he wants to see a much larger amount of aid being delivered via land routes, a topic he said he would raise when speaking with Netanyahu in Jerusalem later today.

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