BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday defended Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket fire from the Gaza Strip ruled by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and said Germany was working to secure a sustainable ceasefire.
“We stand for Israel’s right to self-defence and that’s why it is right that Israel is taking massive action,” Merkel said in an interview with the WDR public broadcaster. “But on the other hand we want to contribute to diplomatic attempts to secure a long-term and sustainable situation in the region.”
Merkel said that Germany had a “zero tolerance” policy against anti-Semitism after several attacks on synagogues that coincided with the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants. She added that any ceasefire would have to include indirect talks with Hamas, which rules the coastal strip.
(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Paul Carrel; Editing by Alison Williams)