Merkel backs ‘indirect contacts’ with Hamas to end fighting

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that “indirect contacts” with the Hamas terror group, such as those maintained by some Arab countries, are necessary to defuse the situation in the Middle East.

Speaking in Berlin as her foreign minister visited Israel and the West Bank on Thursday, Merkel downplays how much Germany alone can do to help defuse the situation.

Merkel says at an event organized by WDR public television: “Everything we are doing, and the foreign minister is doing, must be seen in the context of American efforts and the efforts of other European states.” She adds: “I don’t think we alone will be the decisive factor there, but we can make a contribution” along with the US, other Europeans and Britain.

Germany has placed the blame for the latest war in the Middle East squarely on Hamas and what it calls the group’s “rocket terror.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, December 16, 2020. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

Asked whether she would back someone speaking with the group, Merkel replies: “Of course there have to be indirect contacts with Hamas. Egypt speaks to Hamas and so do other Arab countries.”

She adds that Egypt is a “very, very important quantity” in ceasefire efforts and “that can’t be done without any contact with Hamas — it doesn’t always have to be done directly. But of course Hamas has to be involved in a certain way, because without Hamas there is no ceasefire.”

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