German vice-chancellor denounces UN resolution on Gaza

German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck has criticised the resolution passed by the UN General Assembly on the escalation of violence between Israel and Palestinians. Israel’s partners such as Germany and the U.S. repeatedly appealed to the Israeli government to avoid civilian casualties, and that was the right thing to do, the Green politician told the German tv programme Markus Lanz. However, Habeck said, it was completely nonsensical to call on Hamas to avoid civilian casualties “because Hamas’ goal is to produce civilian victims.” He said it was bad to make a distinction when it came to casualties. But it was a distinction on the political level that Hamas had been about “slaughtering people,” Habeck said.
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“Therefore, it is not a good resolution because it is not political. It doesn’t penetrate and call the political problem by its name,” he added. The UN resolution, adopted by a two-thirds majority last Friday, condemns all violence against Israeli and Palestinian civilians, calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all “illegally detained” civilians and demands unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza. It also calls for an “immediate permanent and sustainable humanitarian ceasefire” leading to a “cessation of hostilities.”
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It does not include an unequivocal condemnation of Hamas’ acts of terror as the trigger for the war. Germany abstained from voting on the resolution, receiving criticism from Israel’s ambassador to Germany and by Germany’s Central Council of Jews. Habeck said that the German government was unanimous in its stance on the UN resolution. The abstention does not mean that Germany wants to wash its hands of the situation, but on the contrary wants to help find a solution. “Of course, as a humanitarian stance, it’s totally great to say I’m in favour of all people getting along and love each other,” Habeck said.
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He said transfering that attitude to the Ukraine war would be like calling on Ukraine’s supporters to make peace with those “who started this war.” Such an attitude towards Ukraine would be unacceptable, he said. However, Habeck agreed that one must also see how the other side thinks in order to somehow move forward in the current conflict. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also defended Germany’s voting behaviour on ZDF on Wednesday. Germany had a special role to play in keeping the channels of communication open with other actors in the region, such as Egypt and Jordan, she said. (dpa/NAN)

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