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German foreign minister heads to Israel to urge for ceasefire as IDF prepares to enter Rafah

Top German diplomat scheduled to arrive for fifth time since Oct. 7

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Photo: IMAGO/Political-Moments via Reuters)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is scheduled to arrive in Israel next week for her fifth trip to Israel since Oct. 7, according to Israel’s foreign ministry on Sunday.

The German diplomat is expected to urge Israel to agree to a ceasefire with the Hamas terror organization, although Israel is currently preparing to enter Rafah, Hamas’ last stronghold, in southern Gaza, on the border with Egypt.

“Israel must defend itself against Hamas terror but at the same time alleviate the suffering of civilians as much as possible. That is why another pause in fighting is needed - also in order for hostages can finally be released. I will discuss ways towards that in Israel again next week,” Baerbock wrote in a post on 𝕏.

Baerbock’s announcement came just before Israel rescued two hostages, Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Norberto Louis Har, 70 in a dramatic overnight rescue operation.

Baerbock claimed that Israel’s coming operations in Rafah would cause a “humanitarian catastrophe.” 

“The distress in Rafah is already beyond belief. 1.3 million people are seeking protection from the fighting in the most limited of space. An offensive by the Israeli army on Rafah would be a humanitarian catastrophe,” Baerbock wrote.

Last month, during a visit to Cairo, Baerbock said that Israel needed to “do more” to protect Gazan civilians.

“The Israeli army must do more to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” Baerbock said, after meeting her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry. “The suffering of so many innocent Palestinians cannot go on like this.”

The Israeli government is preparing an evacuation plan for the more than one million Gazans currently in Rafah. Egypt, which borders Rafah, has refused to take in even a single Gazan refugee, a decision that has the support of both the United States. and the European Union. Both the U.S. and the EU have stated there can be no “displacement” of Gazans from Gaza, even temporarily.

Last month, retired U.S. military officer and internationally recognized expert in urban warfare, John Spencer, stated that the IDF does more to prevent and minimize civilian casualties than any military in the history of warfare.

“The reality is that when it comes to avoiding civilian harm, there is no modern comparison to Israel's war against Hamas. Israel is not fighting a battle like Fallujah, Mosul, or Raqqa; it is fighting a war involving synchronous major urban battles," Spencer wrote in Newsweek magazine.

"No military in modern history has faced over 30,000 urban defenders in more than seven cities using human shields and hiding in hundreds of miles of underground networks purposely built under civilian sites. while holding hundreds of hostages,” continued.

“Despite the unique challenges Israel faces in its war against Hamas, it [the IDF] has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other military in history,” Spencer added.

No independent review of Gazan casualties has been made and all casualty numbers are exclusively based on reports from the Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by the Hamas terror organization.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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