Hamas will have to end its rocket fire on southern Israel before Israel ends its blockade on the enclave, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday during a visit to Gaza.
On Sunday, Steinmeier told reporters in Jerusalem it is essential to Israel’s security to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure and homes in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
During his visit on Monday, the German diplomat noted the importance of improving Gaza’s economy, which he said requires the opening of crossing points by Israel; in other words, lift the blockade around the enclave. But, he said, that is not easily done.
“We need local investments and those from abroad,” he said. “Hence we also need the possibility to export the goods, which are being produced here (in Gaza). This can happen only by opening the borders.”
However, he said bluntly, rocket fire aimed at the Jewish State by Gaza terrorists makes it extremely difficult for anyone to help create economic or other progress.
“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.”
Steinmeier did not meet with Hamas leaders, who have maintained an iron grip over the region since seizing control and ousting the Palestinian Authority’s leading Fatah faction in 2007.