• Germany's news in English

Westerwelle calls Gaza blockade 'unacceptable'

The Local · 8 Nov 2010, 13:46

Published: 08 Nov 2010 13:46 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"It is not acceptable to blockade 1.5 million people in Gaza," Westerwelle told reporters on a brief visit to the Palestinian exclave controlled by the militant group Hamas.

The blockade "strengthens the radicals and weakens the moderates and the opposite is what we should be doing," he said of the measure, which has been eased by Israel in recent months but still remains in place.

"It is important that imports and exports are allowed through again," he said, stressing that this was also the position of the European Union.

Westerwelle's comments were made during a visit to the Sheikh Ajleen sewage

treatment plant, just south of Gaza City, which is being redeveloped with a €20-million ($28-million) grant from German development bank KfW.

"Gaza must not and will not be forgotten by us," he said, pledging that Berlin would continue to help the territory, which suffered huge damage to its core infrastructure during a bloody 22-day Israeli offensive two years ago.

"Infrastructure is crucial for development. Water, sewage treatment, education and training are the key components of our aid," Westerwelle said.

Israel first imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in June 2006 after militants there kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and tightened it a year later when Hamas seized power in the coastal territory.

Shalit is still being held by militants in Gaza, and Germany is believed to have a key role in brokering the negotiations between Israel and Hamas to secure the 24-year-old's release in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

"We are doing what we can to help on this issue," Westerwelle said, without giving further details, and reiterating calls for his release.

Story continues below…

The strict blockade was imposed on Gaza in a bid to force Hamas into freeing Shalit, but the policy was dramatically eased in July after Israel bowed to a wave of global pressure following a botched raid on a fleet of aid ships which left nine foreign activists dead.

Although Israel now allows in everything except arms or goods which could be used to create weapons or build fortifications, it still maintains a tight naval blockade on the beleaguered strip and does not allow it to export anything.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:17 November 8, 2010 by froogler#1
@lazybum...it is the jews that go a step further to bomb the arabs!
16:17 November 8, 2010 by Talonx
Gaza looks like it does solely because of the Israel state as well as Euro-American incursions.

But your point is still very relevant.
17:45 November 8, 2010 by raandy
The Palestinians under the Zionist occupation are an oppressed people.They are treated poorly by this Nation. Jewish people in the US own most of the news services and donate lots of money to political camps that champion Israel as a free and democratic state. They do not want peace,they are building settlements as we speak. One Unlucky Israeli soldier is captured and this justifies their continued oppression of the Palestinians. Israel with its high tech military thanks to the USA ,is able to maintain this oppression for now but as power in the world is shifting,I doubt it will last another 60 years.
20:23 November 8, 2010 by derExDeutsche
WHY is this Germany's business?

Will Germany be taking responsibility for every Israeli civilian killed by a weapon smuggled in through the ports? Maybe just add them to the WWII tolls? Or maybe, is the German Govt. of the policy that 'There are no Israeli civilians'? Is there a Hamas Alliance in German Politics?

and thank you raaandy for sharing with us;, ' Its not Fair!!! their guns are bigger, whaaaaa!!!!. '

Anti-Islam is the new Antisemitism? What about actual antisemitism? Where did that disappear off to? For you Germans, I guess once Jews got a little money, all is fair game once again, huh Germany? And those Poor poor poor Palis. Your reflexive Socialist/Commie Instincts are strong, German Jedis . However, Poor does not always = Right. And in this case, I would suggest Germany let someone else do the BIG Talking. jmho, Germanys Cred in knowing what is best for Jews and Israel is kinda shot as it is.
17:26 November 9, 2010 by raandy
Bigger weapons ,that is a gross understatement, You can beat the anti Semitism drum all you want ,but the Israeli ,Zionist are the real problem in the middle east.

Jews with money? Now they are fair targets ,we are talking about ISRAEL and its treatment of the Palestinian people ,thats deplorable and sanctions on Israel should be imposed until they get serious about PEACE and quit building on the West Bank .and treat their neighbors with respect instead of demeaning them at every opportunity .
19:58 November 13, 2010 by rick86
Blockade ''unecceptable?'' What is unexcceptable is the Arab world and thier repeated statements of ''Israel has no right to exist,Israel wiped from the map,Israel erased from the pages of history.'' The fact that the Arabs have built this cage for themselves by repeatedley refusing to accept peace talks or aggrements is secondary.

The Palestinians have had thier hopes for a state and peace repeatedely sabotaged not by Israel but by thier own Arab brothers. They keep going with the losing side. If they'd have accepted a peace in 1948 they'd have had 60 years of peace but they decided to exterminate JEWS was preferable to living beside them.Why share Palestine if you can have it all in a genocidal sneak attack? They gamble and lost. Too bad for them.

Can you imagine the worldwide outrage that would follow if Israel were to make a statement like the Palestinians had no right to exist? Yet nations in the mid east routinely make statements like this and there's no backlash.

These peace talks are supposed to be bilateral but the PA seemingly needs the nod from the Arab league on any and all decisions. They even had to get the Arab leagues permision to enter talks. Everyone who claims to represent the Pal. should go into the Negev dessert and fight it out. Israel can negotiate a peace deal with the survivers.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd