JERUSALEM (JTA) – In an unscheduled visit to Gaza, the foreign minister of Germany said Israel must ease its blockade on Gaza, but that it will happen only when Israel is certain that rocket fire from the coastal strip has stopped.
“We need local investments, and from abroad,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters in Gaza on Monday, Reuters reported. “Hence we also need the possibility to export the goods, which are being produced here. This can happen only by opening the borders.
“But the whole truth is, all this will, under most difficult circumstances, happen only when there is real certainty … that [Gaza] is no longer a launching pad for rockets.”
A rocket fired from Gaza landed in Israel on May 26, leading to retaliatory airstrikes by Israel. It was the fourth attack from Gaza since the end of Israel’s 50-day operation in Gaza last summer, which saw thousands of rockets fired into Israel.
Steinmeier met on Sunday in Israel and the West Bank with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Following a meeting with Steinmeier on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he told the German leader that he remains committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, including a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish nation state of Israel.
Steinmeier did not meet any Hamas leaders in Gaza, but did visit a United Nations school for girls built with assistance from Germany, according to Reuters.